Wednesday, 08 July 2015 02:21

July Advocacy Alert- Words of Wisdom from Rep. Sam Farr

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At the 2015 Peace Corps Connect conference, Rep. Sam Farr (CA – District 20, Columbia 1964-66) asked that all Peace Corps supporters take action and advocate on behalf of Peace Corps. Rep. Farr challenged us all to become better advocates and to speak with elected officials about Peace Corps. His challenge included:

  • Connect with your member of congress via phone, email or during in person meetings. These methods all provide opportunities to ensure members of Congress understand why continued, robust funding for Peace Corps is critical.
  • Hold your elected officials accountable. Did you reach out to ask your Senator or Representative to vote in favor of particular legislation impacting Peace Corps? If they did vote in favor, follow up with them and say “thank you!” If they didn’t vote in favor, let them know that you’re disappointed they couldn’t support that particular legislation and you hope they’ll change their vote in the future.
  • Find a message style you are comfortable with. When sending calls to action, NPCA usually includes sample text. Use that text and make it your own. Rep. Farr provided examples ranging from the basic: “I was in the Peace Corps and it was the best experience I’ve ever had. It needs more money. I will be watching your vote.” To the more complex comparisons of spending for Peace Corps versus spending on other investments abroad or emphasizing that Peace Corps is about jobs and helping Americans work.
  • “Make the political system watch and listen to us”. Rep. Farr encouraged connecting with and responding to calls for action from the NPCA. He drew the comparison to the oft cited example of the advocacy power that the National Rifle Association (NRA) wields. With members scattered across the U.S. who are willing to be vocal about their beliefs, the NRA is able to send a call to action that results in thousands reaching out to Congress. Rep. Farr said that if the more than 240,000 PCVs and RPCVs, as well as families and friends, responded to calls to action in support of Peace Corps, this would rival the NRA’s advocacy power.

Interested in accepting Rep. Farr’s challenge? You’ll have a great opportunity this August! The RPCVs of Colorado are working to set up meetings with the Colorado congressional delegation. Colorado. Contact me, Suzanne Smith, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you want to participate in or lead one of these meetings. Watch for notification of scheduled meetings on the RPCVs of Colorado website and let me know if you plan to join.

During Peace Corps Connect NPCA and Rep. Farr shared a few other updates:

  • President Obama’s budget request included $410 million for Peace Corps for FY2016, which is October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. This would be an increase of $30 million over the current funding level.
  • The House Appropriations Committee is recommending level funding Peace Corps at just under $380 million, but the Senate Appropriations Committee could still support the President’s funding request. Advocates are encouraged to reach out to
  • NPCA is examining if it is possible to change the current non-competitive eligibility to five years or to allow for a delay in use.
  • A location for the Peace Corps commemorative has been found near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The design competition just closed and is being judged currently. According to Glenn Blumhorst, President of the NPCA, the goal is to choose a commemorative that “captures the ideas and spirt, the part of the American spirit…that brought us into service” and it is an opportunity to celebrate service, not just memorialize the impact of war or those who are now dead. Legislation for the commemorative passed last year.

Check out NPCA’s website for more information related to advocacy: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/advocacy/

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