Yesterday, Laura, Claire, Mallory, Jon, and I piled into Mallory's car and made the trip down to Austin to lobby Kay Baily Hutchinson. We decided to go on this trip last week after a conference call with Jim Wallis of Call to Renewal and Sojourners. In a nutshell, the senate is supposed to be voting on the budget reconciliation within the next couple of weeks and they are proposing budget cuts to programs such as Medicaid and Food Stamps. They're saying that since we're fighting two wars and are rebuilding the gulf after the hurricane, there isn't enough money to go around and cuts must be made. However, they are also proposing to give tax cuts to the wealthy - totally about $70 billion. But the cuts they're trying to make to Medicaid and food stamps total $35 billion. That doesn't add up or make any sense.
Before we actually got to the Senator's office we met up with Seth at a barbecue restaurant and ate lunch with him. He's the ONE Campaign Fellow for our region and works in Austin. We got to talk with him about what he's been up to and tell him more about the 1 John 3 Campaign we're working on here at Baylor. We also pestered him yet again about getting us into the U2 concerts here in Texas since he gets to work at them. I wish I had his job.
After lunch we walked over to the federal building and met up with Lew. He's the Bread for the World guy for our region and we met him last year at a letter writing workshop he did here in Waco. Plus he and Seth were both at the conference in DC that we all went to last summer. Ahh, good times on capital hill. Anyways, we met up with Lew, the "grandfather" of the group as someone said later. He brought us a camera and said that he checked and that we could use it. He also asked us what we were going to say in our meeting and gave us a few pointers before he left us on our own.
We actually met with an aide, not Kay Bailey. He was a talker and kept getting off topic, but I think Jon did a good job of "holding him to focus." I think the meeting went fairly well, considering we're talking to republicans who are most likely set in their ways about the budget already. But we were able to get our points across and say why we thought that Medicaid and Food Stamps shouldn't be cut. Because seriously, why make these cuts but then turn around and give people who are already filthy rich more money back? That is ridiculous.
After the meeting with the aide, he showed us around the office, which used to be LBJ's place when he was president and would come back to Texas. It was still decorated the same so everything was avocado green and basically really ugly. We left the office, walked back to the car, said good bye to Seth, and made the trip back up to good ole Waco, which according to the aide is a "growing metropolis." Yeah, riiiight. Keep on thinking that, buddy.