Connection, advocacy and empowerment are all words that describe the Council’s annual Legislative Day. Many attendees expressed the invaluable experiences they had during this year’s event on Tuesday, April 10. Read on to learn why the day is so important to them and to the community at large!
“I like Legislative Day because it gives me interaction with my peers and blind people who have different perspectives. It’s also great getting face-to-face contact with senators and assembly-persons. It’s so important today that we be here and tell them what we need.”
John Foulks, Council Board, Fond Du Lac
“Several issues face our community, such as barriers to transportation, healthcare and employment. Vision Forward wants to help advocate in those areas and so it was an important day for us to be present.”
Terri Davis, Executive Director, Vision Forward, Milwaukee
“The legislative priority that is most important to me is transportation, because I’m a transportation coordinator for La Crosse County. We’ve got some really great services but they don’t connect with each other. Our legislators don’t see the things we experience and I think it’s important to talk to them to build rapport.”
Steve Johnson, Second Vice President, Council Board, La Crosse
“I’m in the business enterprise program, (BEP), and I’m concerned about the potential privatization of rest areas and other BEP locations. If this happened, over half our operators and their employees would lose their jobs. I hope that since there are quite a few of us who are from the BEP, legislators will listen and opt not to privatize.”
Sally Zenchenko, Business Enterprise Vender, Madison
“For the people making decisions on our behalf, it’s critical for them to see us. The simple act of being in the Capitol building is important. Legislative Day provides the opportunity for people to have a personal conversation with legislators about the reality of our lives. The day is also an opportunity for agency leaders to get together and talk with each other about the big picture.”
Denise Jess, Council CEO/Executive Director, Madison
“I came to Legislative Day because, on behalf of Beyond Vision, we wish to have closer relationships with our legislators to help them understand matters critical to us. Throughout the day, we hoped to network with others serving the community of people who are blind. Legislative Day helped us better understand the Councils legislative priorities.”
Jim Kerlin, CEO, Beyond Vision, Milwaukee
“I am inspired each year to attend the Council’s Legislative Day because I never wish to pass up the chance to begin to build a relationship with a legislator or member of staff. Additionally, it is important to bring the Council’s legislative priorities forward to key personnel who may not have considered state programs and services from a blind/visually impaired person’s perspective.”
Rhonda Staats, Council Board Secretary and Legislative Committee Chair, La Crosse
All of these people and many others are working across the state to empower the lives of Wisconsin residents who are blind or visually impaired. If you want to get involved, too, visit our website (WCBlind.org/advocacy) to see up-to-date action items. Also on our site is the list of the Legislative Priorities mentioned earlier. Which one is most important to you?