- April 18, 2011
- From the Team
If the S2F campaign were distilled into a comic book, there would be a team of four caped Congressional crusaders called “The Appropriators.” By day, they would wear suits and sit in meetings, but by night… Well, they actually do their marvels by day, while wearing suits and sitting in meetings. With pens as their instruments of power, these four lead the Congressional committees that develop our nation’s foreign aid budget. They are Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), along with Representatives Kay Granger (R-TX) and Nita Lowey (D-NY).
Though every member of Congress gets to have a say, these four make the final calls (for more detail on this, see the S2F game plan page). In the coming weeks, they will be writing the budget for next year. Unless they choose to set aside new funds to implement the White House strategy released in November, new efforts to bring LRA leader Joseph Kony to justice and see LRA atrocities finally ended cannot become reality.
Getting their attention can make or break our efforts for peace. As part of the S2F campaign, more than 100 local lobby meetings are in motion, calling for members of Congress to add their names to a letter addressed to these big four and asking for dedicated funding. But we also need to go further.
That’s why we printed hundreds of postcards with their faces on them to distribute to constituents, and have found our most capable supporters in their districts and states to schedule in-person meetings when these four are home on recess. We even manufactured custom ties for local advocates to wear to their lobby meetings.
Resolve advocates Renee Vigneau and Sadie Stone are leading the team working to meet with Senator Leahy – the Chair of the Senate committee that helps set the foreign aid budget – when he is home in Vermont. Senator Leahy cosponsored last year’s LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, so there are high hopes that he will be a champion. If you live in Vermont, join them.
Right behind Senator Leahy in importance is Senator Lindsey Graham. As the ranking Republican of the committee, he is also crucial. However, since coming to Congress in 1994, Senator Graham has not taken a single notable action to help stop LRA violence. More than 65 committed advocates have pledged to meet with Senator Graham, and all-star activist Corinne Owens will be leading the meeting. Other South Carolinians are also invited to join in the action.
On the House side, there are two women in charge. Representatives Kay Granger, a Republican from the Ft. Worth area of Texas, and Nita Lowey, a Democrat from the White Plains area of New York, lead the House committee that helps write the foreign aid budget.
Representative Granger serves as Chair of the committee, and was a co-sponsor of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Advocates Janelle Ghana Breeding and Misti Day (of Oklahoma Holdout fame… watch out Ms. Granger!) are organizing the meeting with Representative Granger. Please join the meeting – and get ready to wear an awesome Kay Granger tie – if you are a constituent of the Congresswoman.
Representative Lowey is the highest-ranking Democrat on the committee. She has traveled to Uganda to witness the effects of this war firsthand, and worked behind the scenes on Capitol Hill to ensure the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act passed. Advocate Sara Hutton is leading the team asking to meet with Representative Lowey. Please join the meeting if you are a constituent of the Congresswoman, and wear something that won’t clash with your Nita Lowey tie.
And, if you’ve got a few seconds and you are willing contact any of these appropriators outside the local meetings, order a pack of postcards. Bring them to church, school, or work, and then mail them back to D.C. or deliver them to the local Congressional office.
Right now, these four leaders hold the power to make or break our efforts for peace. They will be likely to make it happen only if they know it is important to us. So, let’s get to work.