My Day at a Legislator's Office
My name's Joan, and I live in Lynwood, CA. I've never visited a legislator's office before, but I decided to take the plunge when I got the email from MomsRising about bringing Lifesaver candies to a local member of the CA Assembly. I was a little nervous at first, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.
My sons (ages 9 and 6) went with me to the office of Assemblymember Isadore Hall in Compton. We were scheduled to meet with Assemblymember Hall's Deputy District Director. Everyone there was very nice! (I figure that since politicians win or lose their jobs based on the approval of ordinary folks like us, they are going to be friendly as a matter of course.)
The person I was supposed to meet with was running late, but the District Director, Demetrius Harris, offered to meet with me in his place. Julia from MomsRising had said that it would be alright if I wanted to just drop off the Lifesavers and the information packet, but I felt comfortable enough to go on in Mr. Harris's office to talk. Because it was spring break, Mr. Harris's two school-age sons were there with him. This was perfect for my boys! They all played together in the next room while the grown-ups chatted.
I told Mr. Harris that I was with MomsRising and we were talking to our legislators about the importance of health coverage for all children in California. I shared my personal story. My husband works a physically demanding and very low-paying part-time job loading boxes at a package delivery company. He doesn't really like the job and the only reason he stays with it is because it provides full medical coverage even though it's a part-time position. Because our kids can go to the doctor any time they need to, we were able to discover that my 6-year-old has borderline cholesterol issues and borderline blood sugar issues. I'm so glad that I know this so that I can take steps to try to prevent serious health problems for him in the future. I told Mr. Harris that every child in our state needs to have the same access to health care that my kids have.
Mr. Harris asked me a little about MomsRising, and I told him that we are a national organization that focuses on issues affecting mothers and children. He said that Assemblymember Hall is strongly committed to health care, both for children and for the general community. I listened as he talked about an issue that Assemblymember Hall has been deeply involved with, trying to reopen the County Hospital in Watts that was closed down in recent years. Mr. Harris said that if there's anything we would like their help with, just call their office. He also took my name and number and invited me to an open house that they are having this weekend. I gave him the MomsRising information and the bags of Lifesavers, and my sons and I went home with a smile. The whole thing took less than an hour, and I feel like I really accomplished something. Now Assemblymember Hall knows that our organization exists and his office has stated a willingness to work with us on improving the well-being of mothers and children in California.