Stand for Space! Join me in D.C. in February to Blitz Congress
Congressional Blitz for Space, Feb 22nd - 24th, 2015
The Space Exploration Alliance, of which The Planetary Society is part, is holding their annual Legislative Blitz this Feb 22nd - 24th. The Blitz is an opportunity for the most dedicated of space advocates to promote the potential of exploration in face-to-face meetings with congressional staff. Last year over 50 space advocates went to over 100 congressional meetings in two days.
It was a blast. But more importantly, it serves to fill a crucial role in space advocacy: congressional staff view in-person visits as the most effective form of advocacy there is (I'm not making this up, check out page three of the study "Communicating with Congress: Perceptions of Citizen Advocacy on Capitol Hill [pdf]" by the Congressional Management Foundation). If you support space exploration and can swing a trip to Capitol Hill for a day or two, this is one of the most important things you can do to advance the cause.
You can register here. Early registration ends on January 9th, at which point prices will go up a bit. This is to encourage early registration, since we book all of your meetings for you and it takes time to do that. We also have a day of training on the 22nd, where we will provide you with key talking points, effective communications strategies, and maps. You'll travel in groups, and we always make sure to have at least one experienced person in each group. You won't just be out on your own.
And don't take my word for it! Here's a testimony from a 2014 Blitzer and Planetary Society member Kirby Runyon:
Participating in the Space Exploration Alliance Legislative Blitz in early 2014 was a blast. Maybe I have a power lust and love being in D.C. talking to Congressional staffers. Maybe I like influencing space policy so that the future that I want to live in actually happens. Probably both, to varying degrees.
At any rate, my four person team and I visited with the staffers for two senators and the staffers for four members of the House in six different meetings. We shared with them that the guiding goal in human spaceflight should be crewed Mars missions and that NASA's Planetary Science Division should be funded at $1.5 billion per year; we shared with them that "useless" space science ends up having positive, often unintentional, practical applications; and, we shared with them that space inspires people to go into all areas of STEM, and not just space-related areas. Everyone we spoke with was receptive and excited, even if their district didn't have a huge space presence. No one was negative toward our pro-space message. It was also so bipartisan that you really couldn't tell just from our conversations who was a Democrat and who was a Republican: A good space program is not a partisan issue—a good space program is just good policy. Personally, I found that I'm quite good at speaking with policy-makers and really enjoyed it. I plan on a 2015 repeat of my 2014 Legislative Blitz.
I'll be there on Sunday and Monday to participate myself. We'll also have evening social hours so we can compare notes and talk space. I hope we can drum up some great numbers for Planetary Society members this year, so