HR4969 Update from ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN

From ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN:

I would like to bring you up to date on H.R. 4969, but first I want to
thank you for your help and that of the members in your Sections.  If
you will be doing newsletters or other communications with your members
in the next few weeks, please let them know that their efforts are
important and appreciated. The official list of cosponsors can be
found, sorted alphabetically, at{%22search%22%3A[%22hr+4969%22]}&pageSort=alpha

Congress had very few days in session in September, but we added 30
co-sponsors to the official list during that time. ARRL Directors Mike
Lisenco, N2YBB, and Dick Isely, W9GIG, went to Washington in September
to visit Congressional offices, as did President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and
General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD.  Dozens of offices were visited.
Meanwhile, in the home districts, ARRL elected officials, appointed
officials, and members met with Congressmen and their staffs to urge
co-sponsorship.  Members all over the country phoned local
Congressional offices and sent e-mails via Congressmen’s web pages.
Members also sent postal letters via ARRL HQ, some of them generated at
Amateur Radio conventions.  This all-member effort is how we went from
17 co-sponsors on August 1 to 47 on September 18.

We have e-mail and oral commitments from more than half a dozen
additional Congressmen to become co-sponsors of H.R. 4969.  Members of
Congress can become co-sponsors only when Congress is in session, not
during a recess.  Because Congress packed up and went home to campaign
on September 19, some Representatives didn’t have time to get their
co-sponsorship made official before the recess.   There will be
follow-up with the offices of those Congressmen to make sure their
co-sponsorship shows up on the official list as soon as possible after
Congress reconvenes in November.

What about ARRL members who wrote, e-mailed, and phoned their
Congressmen, but the Representatives haven’t become co-sponsors?  Was
this time and effort wasted?  Absolutely not.  At the very least, these
Congressional offices now know that Amateur Radio exists in their
districts and that Amateurs have interests which deserve notice.  A lot
of politics is based on relationships.  Contacts made with members of
Congress about H.R. 4969 contribute to establishing relationships that
can be maintained and enhanced in the future.  Does your Congressman
know how Amateur Radio makes your district a safer place to live if
disasters occur?  Does your Congressman know how Amateurs in your
district introduce young people to hands-on experience of how wireless
communications work, laying the foundation for careers?  Realistically,
we won’t get support for H.R. 4969 from every member of Congress who
is contacted by Amateurs.  What we certainly can do is to build
relationships that will serve our interests – and the public interest
– if not right now, then in the future.

Members whose Congressmen have become co-sponsors are encouraged to
thank their Representatives by phone, e-mail, or postal mail.  It’s
good manners and good relationship-building strategy.  Members can also
seek out opportunities during the present recess to make the case for
the bill at local offices and events. In short:  Keep on!

73, Kay N3KN

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