On September 13th, 25 computing researchers from across the country took part in a virtual training session to prepare them to make the case to Congress for federally funded computing research. Holding the training virtually is a change from past Congressional Visit Days that the CRA Government Affairs staff have run. Due to ongoing restrictions stemming from the COVID-19 Pandemic and post-January 6th security, the Congressional office buildings located in Washington D.C. are not open to the general public. Despite these obstacles, CRA organized a virtual event for computing researchers to meet with their Congressional representatives in web meetings in order to keep making the case for Federal support for computing research.
The volunteers, hailing from such states as Missouri, Tennessee, North Carolina, and California, to name a few, participated in over 50 House and Senate meetings. Their message to Congress was very simple: Federally supported computing research is vital to the nation’s future. Using their own research and individual stories as support, and reinforced with additional information from CRA, they made the “Federal case” for computing to Members of Congress and their staff. Those Members of Congress now know more about the interesting and important computing work that occurs in their districts and states, and our participants have a sense of just who represents them in Congress. And they’ve hopefully started a lasting dialogue on both sides.
If you would like to participate in a future Congressional Visit Day, or would like to visit your representative’s office, virtually or in-person, please contact Brian Mosley (firstname.lastname@example.org) in CRA Government Affairs Office. CRA can provide expert training, messaging, and materials, and we would also be happy to accompany you to your Congressional meetings.