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Legislative Workshop Aims to Empower Guard Advocates

02-06-24 WR Leg Workshop WEBSITE
02-06-24 WR Leg Workshop WEBSITE
Washington Report

An upcoming NGAUS event aims to help attendees share their stories about the National Guard and interact with their lawmakers more effectively.

The association’s 2024 Legislative Workshop is set for Feb. 27-28 at the National Guard Memorial, the NGAUS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

This year’s edition of the annual event will help attendees create strategic engagement plans and develop long-term relationships with their elected officials.

"The NGAUS Legislative Workshop is a great venue for the states to learn more about current issues affecting Guardsmen and to have better connectivity with the federal government," said retired Col. Mike Hadley, the association’s vice president, government affairs. "I’m looking forward to this productive two-day, fly-in event."

The workshop is open to legislative liaisons, congressional affairs contact officers and state association leadership engaged in the legislative process.

It will include insights from senior National Guard Bureau leadership, congressional offices and the association’s legislative staff.

The agenda will also feature remarks from retired Maj. Gen. Francis M. McGinn, the new NGAUS president.

According to Alec Gonzalez, the association’s legislative assistant, NGAUS expects about 30 attendees for the event.

Registration for the workshop runs through Feb. 19, and interested parties can find out more information about the two-day experience here.

NGAUS has booked a small block of first-come, first-serve hotel rooms at The Royal Sonesta Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill, which is across the street from the National Guard Memorial.

The number of hotel rooms at The Royal Sonesta is limited. Attendees interested in staying there should email Alec Gonzalez at [email protected].

The association can also recommend additional hotels in the area. Attendees are responsible for the cost of their lodging.

"It is the coalition-building and the relationship-building," Marcy Weldin, the NGAUS deputy legislative director, said of the workshop’s value.

"I hope they feel empowered with information to go to the Hill and advocate successfully and confidently on behalf of their states," she added of attendees.

Beyond educating listeners about the association’s legislative priorities, the workshop offers attendees the chance to network with major Guard figures.

For example, this year’s participants can attend an evening congressional reception in the association’s Hall of States.

NGAUS has invited the Air Guard and Army Guard directors, the NGB chief and members of Congress to past receptions.

During both workshop days, attendees can additionally engage with their lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Weldin said exposing Guardsmen to multiple points of view about the legislative process helps all 54 Guard organizations nationwide.

"We’re starting to put together strategic engagement plans for how we’ll get through some of these wicked problems," she said. "It is about how you make this personal to the member of Congress you’re talking to."

— By Mark Hensch