Washington Lobbying Increases GPO/WEP Message Gets Through

NOVEMBER 1, 2003 - Members
who have recently taken the time to contact their US Congressmen and
Senators to ask for their support in the Association’s efforts to
repeal the dreaded GPO/WEP laws will be pleased to hear that their
efforts are paying off.

On Tuesday,
October 14 the Association’s Legislative Liaison Shawn Duhamel joined
Rich Fitzsimmons of the lobbying firm LGV&A and spent a day meeting
with Congressional staffers on Capital Hill. As we reported in the
November edition of the Voice, the Association has retained the
firm of Lussier, Gregor, Vienna & Associates (LGV&A) in order
to maintain a constant presence in Washington.

Duhamel
and Fitzsimmons spent a full day on Capital Hill meeting with the
staffs of Congressmen Neil, Frank, Capuano, Lynch, Meehan, and
Delahunt, as well as key staff members for Senators Kennedy and Kerry.
The meetings proved to be both informative and encouraging as to the
progress being made on the two issues.

Each
staff member indicated that their respective boss has been deluged with
calls, emails and letter from concerned retirees. Both Meahan and Neil
had recently met with groups of local retirees in their districts to
discuss the problem.

The highlight
of the day was a meeting in the office of Representative E. Clay Shaw
(D-FL). As members know, Shaw is the House chairman of the Subcommittee
on Social Security. The Ft. Lauderdale native plays a central role in
whether or not the GPO or WEP will be addressed during this
Congressional Session.

Duhamel and
Fitzsimmons met with Chief of Staff Kim Hildred and other staffers from
Shaw’s Committee. They talked in depth about the various proposals
being reviewed and were left with the impression that the chairman is
seeking a solution.

“We had a very
productive meeting with Kim Hildred, who is the lead Congressional
staffer on Social Security. She acknowledged that Mr. Shaw has received
a number of inquiries from retirees in his district. We certainly have
captured his attention,” said Duhamel.

Association
lobbyists will continue to maintain in close contact with our
Massachusetts delegation, as well as with the staff of the Subcommittee
on Social Security. Members are encouraged to continue their individual
efforts on the GPO and WEP.

“Our
members play a key role in whether or not these laws are going to be
addressed. Keeping the pressure on and relating your personal
experiences to your members of Congress are very important.”

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