By Paul R. Pace, News staff
As part of the NASW Annual Leadership Meeting in April, attendees advocated for the profession on Capitol Hill. About 100 chapter leaders made personal visits to their congressional representatives during Advocacy Day on April 11.
Their efforts garnered 22 co-sponsors of the Social Work Reinvestment Act as well as some who signed on to join the Congressional Social Work Caucus. The caucus presently has 53 members.
NASW’s Wisconsin Chapter Executive Director Marc Herstand took advantage of spotting one of his U.S. representatives, Mark Pocan, D-Wis., in the hallway outside his office while the lawmaker was zipping to a meeting.
After a quick chat, Herstand then met with Pocan’s legislative fellow, Bridget Rochester. He discussed the importance of supporting the Social Work Reinvestment Act and asked that Pocan consider being a member of the Social Work Caucus. Herstand also explained the need to increase college loan forgiveness for social workers and how the SWRA would work to address the profession’s low salaries.
Herstand pointed out the significance of research as well.
“We know social workers make a difference, but we need more research on it,” he said.
Rochester said the Social Work Caucus is on Pocan’s list of caucuses he is considering joining. She also affirmed that the legislator leans toward supporting the Voter Empowerment Act of 2013 (H.R. 12), which aims to modernize voter registration and prohibit deceptive practices that keep people from voting.
Later, Herstand headed to the Russell Senate Building on Capitol Hill and discussed the importance of supporting professional social work with Josh McLeod, legislative correspondent with the office of U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. McLeod noted that his fiancee is a social worker in the District of Columbia and said he respects the profession.
From the June 2013 NASW News.