Newscasters tell us that the approval rating for the US Congress is at an all-time low—under 10%. We hear a lot about a “do-nothing” Congress, and have become jaded about the commitment and dedication of these, often, career politicians.
Last night I had the opportunity to see a different side of the story. I was at a reception built around the theme of innovation and advocacy. It was held after normal business hours, in a basement room with some quite mediocre snacks being served. No fundraising expected or allowed. Yet four members of Congress came to engage in dialogue on this issue, and at least 30 Congressional staffers attended. After the reception, those members and staffers were all headed back to the office to do more work—long after most people had gone home to dinner and a dose of evening television.
I will mention two of those four Members in particular—Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Charlie Dent. For the past three years Representatives Maloney (Democrat) and Dent (Republican) have been trying to pass legislation limiting access to tanning beds for people under the age of 18. They have taken on this cause and fought for it year after year. MRF has been proud to help them in that fight. Recently we had a group of volunteers come to DC and meet with their members of Congress. As a result, six new Members agreed to support the action.
At the reception, Ms. Maloney and Mr. Dent both reaffirmed their commitment to this. They both said, “This is important, we have to get it done.”
In the midst of all the partisan bickering and political positioning, it is nice to know that on this issue, a growing number of our elected officials are getting it right.