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First Time Olympia Day Participant Shares Her Experience

Thursday, April 6, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christine Miclat
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Article contributed by Kristen Halberg, Real Estate Manager, CBRE

  

I have been interested in Olympia Day for years, but was very nervous about speaking with lawmakers so I had never participated. It was explained that BOMA members could sign up and "observe” if they did not want to speak, so I took the opportunity with that plan in mind. The bus ride from Seattle to Olympia really helped ease my nerves. It was a great opportunity to talk to industry colleagues who had prior experience with Olympia Day. It was also a perfect time to review the materials BOMA provided and ask questions about each bill we were going to be discussing with our Senators and Legislators. There was coffee and breakfast too!  

BOMA divided us into small groups primarily based on voting districts, and were given an outline of each groups’ scheduled meetings. A large room in the Legislative building had been reserved for us (with more coffee and snacks!) and familiar faces from BOMA greeted us there. Rod [Kauffman] and our lobbyists took some time to discuss how the day was going to go, discuss the bills we were going to talk about with our lawmakers, and then we were off for our first meetings.

 

In the first meeting, I was as nervous as I thought I would be. I definitely was the "observer” I signed up to be! I’m not sure why I was surprised to learn that the Senator we met with was also just a person, but she was. She was brief, but was also smart, warm, and pleasant – she was easy to be in the room with. I felt completely at ease after the first meeting and was even comfortable enough to jump in and take the lead on a topic in my group’s second meeting – something I did not think I would do.  

 

By the end of the day, I found myself wishing we had more meetings. The experience of seeing how the industry works on the lobbying and lawmaking level is invaluable. Additionally, I would feel completely comfortable calling my lawmakers to talk about other issues that matter to me, whether on a professional or personal level. Olympia Day reminded me that our elected officials work for us, and they want to hear from their constituents in order to know how to best represent us with their votes. It was incredible to be a part of something that reminded me that I can make a difference.


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