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Changing hearts and minds in Washington, D.C.

Changing hearts and minds in Washington, D.C.

Milca Kouame meeting with White House staff

AFSC staff member Jessica Roach looks on as Milca Kouame speaks at the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Photo: AFSC

AFSC’s tradition of bringing constituents to meet face-to-face with lawmakers is providing a beacon of hope for change within a frustrating political climate in Washington, D.C.

“Amid all the powerful influences on a member of Congress—moneyed special interests, party politics, media spin—the final cards are held by their voters. Money doesn’t vote,” says Aura Kanegis, director of AFSC’s Office of Public Policy and Advocacy in Washington. “At the end of the day, policymakers work for their constituents, and the direct voice of constituent experience has unrivaled power to cut through political noise.”

And the emotional impact of their testimonies is undeniable.

“While change doesn’t happen in one conversation, face-to face sharing of the real-life implications of policy decisions can help to break the grip of slick special interests and pat political talking points,” Aura explains. “Over the long run, those voices of direct experience can impact the perceptions, assumptions, and motivations that drive a policymaker's decision process.”