Wyoming Education Association

Spring 2019

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/1095286

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X X Member Spotlight 17 Members Experience the Legislature By Andrea Shipley This year, WEA partnered with the Equality State Policy Center to train members in the art of grassroots lobbying. WEA members came from as near as Cheyenne, and as far as the Cody/Powell area, to try their hand at citizen lobbying. The training itself was well received. But, perhaps the most powerful experience for members was attending and testifying before the Senate Education Committee. WEA members, like Rachel Gibson of Torrington, later returned to the legislature to track important public education bills by accompanying the WEA's government relations team during the session. SHAPE attendee Heather Rutz of Torrington shared, "I always knew it was important for WEA to have a unifi ed voice, but attending SHAPE helped deepen my understanding of how that voice makes the most impact for education and students." Attendees also learned how to navigate WEA's new cyber lobbying webpage (wealegislativeinfo.com). The site makes it easy for constituents to learn about bills and contact their legislators directly. In one action alone, 76 WEA members were mobilized to write individualized letters to their legislators, in a matter of days. This impacted the overall discussion on the targeted bill on the fl oor, and eventually promoted its passage. Member Amy Cass shares her experience at SHAPE, saying, "Attending SHAPE Wyoming was a powerful and educational experience. I was able to see the legislative process in action and see just how much work goes into it. I was able to meet a lot of wonderful people from across the state that were there to learn and advocate for topics that they were passionate about. I was able to have a meet-and-greet with the governor, along with many legislators. I took part in the bigger picture of public education in this state. I don't think I ever truly understood what this process looked like and how critical it is that public educators have a voice like WEA advocating for educators and education at this level. The work WEA does at the session is strategic and well-calculated to get the best results. I was truly amazed about how much I learned and how much WEA works for the greater good of Wyoming education and the educators." WEA knows it is critical to represent our members and public education at the legislature. Training opportunities like SHAPE Wyoming, and our cyber lobbying site make getting involved in the political process easy for our members. WEA Teachers Stand for Students at the Legislature One of the highlights of the legislative session is when WEA members bring their students to experience policy making in person. Many students of all ages fi nd their way into and around the legislative halls, meeting with representatives, and learning more about the political process. WEA members packed the Senate Education Hearing room during SHAPE Wyoming to both listen and testify on education bills. President Vetter explains critical public education bills to WEA members who prepare to lobby legislators during SHAPE Wyoming. Representative Pelkey of Laramie joins WEA members Will Plum during lunch with students that Will brought to visit the legislature. WEA member, Kevin Rizer from Sheridan speaks with Representative Kinner

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