Every spring, NACD invites its members to join our staff in Washington, D.C., to promote the interests of conservation districts on Capitol Hill.
This year’s Fly-In occurred on March 13, consisting of a breakfast briefing and a Congressional reception to celebrate the work of our members on Capitol Hill.
The 2019 Spring Fly-In (Fiscal Year 2020) issue papers, as well as previous years’ documents are available on the Issue Papers webpage. If you have any questions about the Fly-In or NACD’s advocacy efforts, contact NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison.
Frequently Asked Questions
When and where is the fly-in?
The 2019 Fly-In will be Wednesday, March 13 in Washington, D.C.
What’s the schedule for the fly-in?
Everyone will meet on Capitol Hill for a breakfast and briefing. NACD’s Government Affairs team will review your talking points for the day and distribute briefing papers and other materials. Attendees will go to meetings with members of Congress during the day. Everyone will then reconvene for a reception on Capitol Hill at the end of the day to celebrate our work and socialize with members of Congress, their staff and our partners. The exact locations of the breakfast and reception will be posted on NACD’s website when available.
Why should I make the trip?
The fly-in is an important opportunity for you to meet directly with your members of Congress and convey the importance of voluntary, locally-led conservation. Members of Congress place a great weight on the views of their constituents. You are the best messenger for conservation and NACD counts on you to speak up.
Where should I stay?
NACD does not have a room block for this event. We recommend that you stay at one of the many hotels on Capitol Hill near the events. Hotels in Washington, D.C., however, can be expensive. If you are looking for more affordable accommodations, hotels in Arlington, Va., are generally a little less costly. If you don’t stay near the Capitol, we recommend that you stay near a Metro station (http://www.wmata.com) to make your trip into the city a little easier.
What do I need to do to prepare for the fly-in?
Before traveling to Washington, D.C., you will need to coordinate with other attendees from your state to schedule meetings with your members of Congress. Congressional offices are very busy and appointments are required in order to meet with members of Congress or their staff.
How do I schedule meetings with my members of Congress?
Meetings can be scheduled by contacting each office individually. If you are unsure who your Representative or Senators are, you can find them here: House – https://www.house.gov/ Senate – https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact. When you call the main office number for their Washington, D.C., office, the staffer who answers can provide you with the information that office needs to request an appointment. If you know an individual staffer within an office, you can contact them as well.
You should place a priority on meeting with the members of Congress from your state who serve on the Agriculture, Natural Resources or Appropriations Committees or who are your personal Representative. If you have additional time, you may want to meet with other Members of your state’s delegation. If possible, try to avoid moving back and forth between the House and Senate. You will need to plan for at least a 20-minute walk between the two. Map of Capitol Complex.
If you need help scheduling a meeting, NACD’s Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison (coleman-garrison[at]nacdnet.org) can help you.
I heard Congressman Peterson is the new House Agriculture Committee Chair. I should meet with him, right?
Probably not. While Congressman Peterson does play an important role in Congress, you should meet with him (or any other member) only if you are from his state. Members of Congress are interested in meeting with their own constituents. You will have the greatest impact meeting with your own members of Congress. In addition, Congressional offices are very busy. Coordinating meetings at the state level ensures offices aren’t asked by our group to have multiple meetings in the same day.
What are we supposed to talk about?
NACD will provide issue papers to use in your meetings. Last year’s issue papers can be found here: https://www.nacdnet.org/general-resources/issue-papers/
March is a critical time for Congress to develop their annual appropriations, or funding, bills. The fly-in is a great time to explain the importance of conservation funding. As you can see in the issue papers from last year, NACD is concerned with funding for several programs. You may not use all these in your state – that’s okay! Focus on the programs that you do use and be sure to include personal stories about the effect of these programs.
Do I need to bring anything?
NACD will provide copies of our issues papers to use. However, if you have any resources specific to your district or state, you are encouraged to bring these as well. Members of Congress love to hear about local projects and success stories.
What should I wear?
Congress is a formal work environment, and people generally wear business attire.
When should I travel?
The fly-in is a full day event on March 13. For most states, we recommend that you travel in on the 12th and depart on the 14th. Larger states may require additional time in Washington, D.C.
If you have any questions, contact Coleman-Garrison[at]nacdnet.org