While events involving politicians are mostly nothing more than glad-handing and photo opportunites, I have always believed that the fire service should still take advantage of every opportunity in order to say "we told you so" be it career or volunteer, and on every political level. With that said, the 111th Congress is up and running and the Congressional Fire Services Institute needs our help. The information below is from the CSFI site.
As We Begin the 111th Congress
Caucus Recruitment is Vital
As you may know, last week marked the start of the 111th Congress. This will be an exciting year with a new administration and several new members in both the House and Senate. It will also be a year of opportunities as we will concentrate our efforts on introducing these newly elected officials to the important issues of the fire and emergency services. Encouraging members of Congress to join the Congressional Fire Services Caucus is among our top priorities. We look to you for support as we take on this initiative.
If your elected representatives are not members of the Fire Caucus, encourage them to join. They are more inclined to join if they hear from local fire officials. The fact that the Fire Caucus is the largest caucus in Congress with approximately 300 members speaks to the nonpartisan nature of the organization. When former Congressman Curt Weldon established the Fire Caucus in 1987, Congress lacked a forum where fire and emergency services issues could be discussed on a nonpartisan level. Weldon recognized that many members did not have an accurate understanding of the mission of local fire departments and the deficiencies in terms of training and equipment in many departments across America. This is why the Caucus was formed, and this is why it continues to play such an important role on Capitol Hill in addressing first responders issues.
But again, members must hear from you to convince them that joining the Fire Caucus benefits them as well as their fire service constituents. And your discussion with them should be the start of an ongoing dialogue in which information is continually exchanged to help both parties understand your respective positions on important issues.
To help CFSI launch its efforts to encourage members to join the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, please follow these steps:
1) Visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov if you are uncertain of your member's name or mailing address. Otherwise, visit http://www.cfsi.org/govt_affairs/caucus_list.asp to see if your members are currently serving on the Fire Caucus. If not, write a letter encouraging them to join. A prepared form letter can be downloaded from our website by clicking here http://www.cfsi.org/pdf/JoinCaucusSampleLetter.pdf. Share the letter with other members of your department, as well as surrounding departments, and encourage them to send similar letters. If your members are on the caucus, send them a thank you letter encouraging them to be active on fire service issues during the 111th Congress. A draft letter is available by clicking here http://www.cfsi.org/pdf/TYCaucusSampleLetter.pdf. To view both letters click here http://www.cfsi.org/govt_affairs/caucus_list.asp.
2) In your letter, ask for a meeting with the staff person assigned to homeland security issues. Maintain contact with the staff person and always be cordial in your conversations. Continued outreach and face-to-face meetings are important for advancing your agenda in Congress.
3) Hopefully you will have a successful meeting and your Member will be made aware of the issues that are most important to you. But remember, the process doesn't stop with one meeting. Stay in touch with your point of contact in the Congressional office. Send an email from time to time keeping them apprised on the issues you are concerned with and the events happening in your community. You become an important resource by keeping the lines of communication open.
4) Remind them of the Congressional Fire Services Institute, a nonpartisan policy institute designed to provide objective information to Congress about the critical issues being address on Capitol Hill that impact our nation's fire and emergency services. We track all the important fire service initiatives under consideration in Congress and work with the other major fire service organizations to build consensus on the issues that address the overall needs of our one million firefighters and rescue personnel.
And as we face these daunting economic challenges that will make it difficult for local departments to purchase equipment and training, please consider supporting the mission of CFSI. We will continue to serve as the lead organization in convincing Congress and the new Administration to fund the FIRE Act, a program that has provided over $4 billion in direct grants to local fire departments throughout the country. Unlike other fire organizations, we do not receive any government funding; instead we rely on the support of organizations and individuals. We recognize that the FIRE Act is the primary source of funding for departments to replace aging apparatus and equipment. That is why we will be dedicating our efforts this year to preserving funding for this program.
If you believe in the mission of CFSI, we kindly ask that you visit our website and become a member of the Associates Club. This a great way to stay involved with CFSI and give back to the one organization that is working with all fire and emergency services organizations on Capitol Hill. Donation amounts can range anywhere from $25 - $1,000.
Thank you in advance for your support, and if you ever have any questions or concerns we urge you to contact us at (202) 371-1277 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just as you continue to protect this country, we will continue to serve and protect you in our nation's Capitol.
Bill Webb, Executive Director
Here is your opportunity. Don't let it pass without action.
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01-23-2009, 08:59 AM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- University Park, MD
Congressional Fire Services Institute"If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
FDNY E.48, SQ.18
Alexandria, VA F.D.
Rest in Peace
01-23-2009, 09:26 AM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
Hhhmmmmm.... this will be the first year that I won't be able to attend the CFSI banquet. That SUCKS. Oh well, at least I am pretty sure Harve, Laura and Billy will be among the honoured guests. Usually get to meet new people each year; last year was Diane C and Mike Ward. Another time, I hope.
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