Breaking New Ground in Advocacy by Engaging Campaigns

Breaking New Ground in Advocacy by Engaging Campaigns

10/3/16

Today, October 3, 2016, was an exciting new outreach for Care advocacy as it was the 1st time we have met with candidates during a campaign. Care advocates have previously only petitioned members of Congress in office.

As Care has a bipartisan approach in Washington D.C., the same was our approach to candidates running for Arizona’s Congressional seat for district 5. We met with both party’s candidates; the Democratic candidate, Talia Fuentes, and the Republican candidate, Andy Biggs. Our objective was to cultivate a relationship with the candidate before they are in office, as we hope to engage with our member for future issues that are important to us as Care citizen advocates. We introduced Care’s work in development to eradicate poverty and empower women and girls.

To secure these meetings, I spent a little extra time to reach the candidates. I was not able to find a direct email for Mr. Biggs. I first sent a message through his campaign website. When that did not produce a response, I reached out to a contact in his campaign to ask for help in securing a meeting for us. That persistence paid off, as we then got in contact with Andy Biggs’s office. They were gracious in giving us time in his office in Mesa, AZ. For Talia Fuentes, I searched for a direct email online and was able to find one. She communicated with me herself and found time for us on the day of our choosing. I understand how busy this campaign season must be for both of the candidates. I was very appreciative that each of them were willing to meet us in person. Rachael Leman, from Care staff in D.C., flew here to join the three constituent advocates that participated in this outreach.

The meeting with Andy Biggs was very positive. He was engaged in discussing the issues of foreign assistance with us. He asked a lot of great questions, which showed me he is clearly interested in learning more about Care’s work and to understand how they operate. We discussed how important U.S. leadership is to development and humanitarian efforts, as the collaboration of the public and private sector is more effective.

Our time with Talia Fuentes was also productive. We first met in her campaign office with her staff, and then met up with Ms. Fuentes at another location. She was eager to learn more about what Care does for our global community. Her passion was apparent as she communicated that Care’s values align with hers. She has traveled to developing countries for her own humanitarian efforts. Ms. Fuentes understands the importance of an International Affairs budget, and plans to champion that there be a robust one should she be on Capital Hill next year.

We don’t know who will win the election in November, but we do know we just met with the winner. Arizona advocates feel confident we will be able to continue communicating with our new member of Congress.  We also built a relationship with another community leader who will continue to have influence in Arizona. We plan to engage them going forward in other ways, whoever that may be. 

-Anissa Rasheta, AZ Chair

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