CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA Legislative Action Committee

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Why 535?

Why I am a member of “Project 535″?

People ask me all the time why I’m a member of CWAs “Project 535,” the lobbying operation that derives its name from the 535 legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. I have to ask them, why aren’t you?

No, I don’t mean they have to fly once a month from California to D.C. like I do to lobby their legislators. But why don’t those who can come join us?

There are people, men and women from the surrounding states of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania who come via train, metro and car to lobby. I’m always surprised there are not more. We should be storming Capitol Hill, letting our government know how we feel. I can guarantee you the homosexuals, the pro-abortionists, the anti-homeschoolers and the liberals are coming to make their opinions known. I’ve seen many of them in the halls of Congress.

The Lord’s Call to Action – My Story

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this for five years. It all began when a brief paragraph in the CWA newsletter caught my attention. It said that they were looking for volunteer lobbyists. I prayed about it and called for an application. A friend of mine who works for United Airlines was willing to give me flight passes to come to D.C. every month. I figured if God put it on my heart, and now was providing the way, I’d better be obedient and come.

I really felt, and now feel even more strongly, that our congressmen need to hear from us. During the Clinton administration when I called the White House, senators or representatives and expressed my conservative views on an issue, they inevitably wanted to know where I was from. When I replied “California,” I could hear the surprise in their voice. “They think we’re all heathens out here,” I’d think.

I decided right then to get people I know to contact their representatives. When our legislators hear from only their liberal constituents, is it any wonder they vote the way they do? Our government needs to know how the majority – the Christians – feel. The silent majority can be silent no longer!

Am I Qualified?

Over the years, I have come to realize that my various life experiences-motherhood, divorce, single-parenting, rearing a diabetic son, career, owning a small business, growing up in Alaska, living in California, and many others – have prepared me and prove invaluable when talking to legislators. God has used all areas of my life to give weight to my arguments when I speak out on issues such as partial-birth abortion, embryonic stem cell research, marriage, school choice, unborn victims of violence and many others.

My First Lobbying Experience

CWA accepted my application and I soon found myself at my first “Project 535″ lobby day. When I started, I had no formal training. CWA sent me a packet of information on the target bill we would be lobbying on that month. I reported to the CWA offices for a briefing session before going to “the Hill.” Our group of lobbyists and CWA staff dedicated our efforts to the Lord in prayer and then a staff person discussed the bill with us, outlining the pros and cons, possible objections, how the passage of the bill will impact the future of our country, and the serious importance of the job we were undertaking – the conservative education of our nation’s leaders. We divided into teams and headed off to the representatives on our list.

The first time, I observed a two-person team in action, so that I could decide if this was something I really wanted to do. My team members explained that when we are presenting our information, one person does the speaking – presenting points and our position – and the other team member prays.

God’s Faithfulness

If you are considering teaming with CWA, I can assure you God can use your gifts and experience. He created you. He knows you. He can use you. He has guided and orchestrated your life to this point to make sure you have exactly what you need to accomplish the task He has for you. When you join 535, you too will find that your life experiences have prepared you to speak sincerely, and effectively, to representatives and their staff. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38) and this is certainly no truer anywhere else than the public arena.

How You Can Answer the Lord’s Call to Action:

1. Pray. After 9/11, every American should understand more clearly the seriousness of Paul’s instructions to Timothy, “I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” Pray that our leaders will make decisions based on Biblical principles, and that they will revere and fear the Lord, so that our nation may lead quiet and peaceful lives.

2. Join CWA and invite, no compel, your friends and family to join. The biggest hurdle we face as lobbyists is to get the actual appointment with the representatives or senators. We have to emphasize that we represent the 8,000 – or whatever the current count is – CWA members in their district. Numbers talk, and the higher the number, the more leverage we have and the more respect the legislator’s office gives us. Sadly, some districts have only a mere 200 members. Last year for Christmas, I asked my friends to join CWA rather than buy me a present. The more members in a congressional district, the more our legislators are willing to listen to the 535 presentation and the more respect we gain in that office.

3. Join “Project 535″ in Washington, D.C., the last Wednesday of every month to lobby. I would like to see two groups of teams – one for the second week of the month and one for the last week of the month. The more exposure CWA has on “the Hill,” the more impact we will have and the more we can accomplish. If God has not put it on your heart or provided the means for you to come, please cover us in prayer, asking that we would have favor in the offices that we visit that day.

4. Contact your legislators on the federal and state levels. Call, write, fax and e-mail your representative, senators, assemblymen and women; then call, write, fax and e-mail them again. Add their e-mail addresses to your address book. A friend of mine keeps a stack of fax sheets already written with the senators’ and congressman’s names and fax numbers. When she wants to speak out on an issue, she just jots down a few lines and pops it in the fax machine. In less than three minutes she can make her opinion known. Our representatives must hear from us. I keep the phone number for the U.S. Capitol switchboard, (202) 225-3121, on the speed dial of my telephone so I can make a quick three-sentence call at the push of a button. It’s that important for our lawmakers to hear from us. They need to know we expect them to vote for legislation according to Godly principles.

Fear Not!

We don’t have to be afraid to take action. We don’t have to feel it’s on us to single-handedly save the Republic. But we are all compelled to do what we can. We are called to be salt and preserve our nation. We are expected to sow seeds into our leaders and their staff members. We are required to be light by voicing Biblical standards.

That is why I am a member of “Project 535.”

 

Sincerely,

Connie Cox
Member “Project 535″
Pleasanton, CA

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