Five members of the RVCC Leadership Team traveled to DC in early March with our 2016 Priorities and budget recommendations in hand. In the face of the partisan noise of an election year and a Congress that is entrenched at best, our practical, realistic, and community based solutions were a welcome perspective. Regardless of the current political relationships and tenor, everyone we visited knows that building relationships and sharing stories of success and opportunities are key strategies for when opportunities do emerge.
Dylan Kruse (Sustainable Northwest), Gary Burnett (Blackfoot Challenge), Nick Goulette (The Watershed Research & Training Center), Rachel Plawecki (RVCC) and I spent three days meeting with members of Congress, Forest Service leadership, USDA, DOI, CEQ and our partners. Our message stressed the importance of investing in, and sustaining, community capacity; ensuring effective implementation of collaborative agreements that provide rural jobs and a year round program of work; prioritizing working across all lands; and addressing the ever increasing costs of fighting fires on the Forest Service budget. We're confident that our partners share the sentiment that these priorities are timely and important.
Traditionally, RVCC has visited DC once every year during our intensive (but fun!) Western Week in Washington. This year we'll be flying back at least once more, including a trip later this spring, to grow our presence at the nation's capitol. Rural voices will not have to be missed any longer!
-Karen Hardigg, RVCC Coordinator