ONE Volunteer Jason Ellis, through his meetings with Rep. Rick Nolan, learns that persistence and tenacity are an important part of being an advocate.
I first met ONE’s Great Lakes Regional Field Director, Tzviatko Chiderov, this past summer at an Electrify Africa meeting in Duluth, Minn. After a productive and lively exchange of ideas, he invited me to join in on a July with district director Jeff Anderson for Congressman Rick Nolan, (MN-08).
As I became more active with ONE, I overcame my initial hesitation of approaching and meeting with elected officials. I am quickly learning that sometimes stepping out of one’s comfort zone can transform a person to become more confident and effective, especially when pursuing vital support for important initiatives.
During our meeting, Tzviatko gave Mr. Anderson a brief overview of ONE and the Electrify Africa Act, and I discussed how the Congressman’s co-sponsorship of the bill would not only be impactful, but that it would make a statement that reflects what many of my fellow constituents would proudly support. At the conclusion of our meeting, Mr. Anderson said he would pass along the information derived from our meeting to the Congressman.
Fast forward to September. I still had not heard an official statement from the Congressman on whether he’d co-sponsor the Electrify Africa Act. But last week, I was fortunate enough to attend an event that Congressman Nolan organized at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I approached Mr. Anderson at the conclusion of this event. He remembered me from our meeting in July and informed me that the Congressman’s co-sponsorship of the Electrify Africa Act is still under review.
I will continue to follow up and remind them of the need to support this important bill.
We are the constituents that our elected leaders are representing – and if you feel that you are bothering them, remember that being involved is what makes us active citizens. Thinking of all the constituents out there who don’t take part in the process should remind us of how much more necessary our involvement is.
Your ONE voice and actions are more powerful than you might think.
-Jason Ellis, ONE volunteer in Duluth, Minn.