ServeNext.org Blog

Talking AmeriCorps with Congressman Norm Dicks and Rick Larsen

Posted by Jerry Duchene Saavedra on August 31, 2012

Post by Carol Farer, ServeNext Organizer for Washington

On August 22nd City Club of Tacoma, a local civics organization, honored Congressman Norm Dicks for his many years of service and the contributions he has made to the 6th Congressional District. Many local leaders, elected officials, and civic activists filled the room to hear some of the stories that showcased his long career in government service. He is considered our third Senator, because his interests and backing of projects and initiatives span the entire state, not just his district. Congressman Dicks, known to most as Norm, is retiring this year and leaving a large leadership vacuum. Congressman Norm Dicks and I

I approached the Congressman this festive night to congratulate him and talk about his support for national service. He recognized me as representing AmeriCorps, and immediately began to talk about how he is a big longtime supporter. He thinks AmeriCorps is a great concept and ought to be preserved, especially at a time when the country needs a lot of help to address critical problems. He mentioned, with pride, that his daughter-in-law was an AmeriCorps alum.

As ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Dicks said he was concerned about the funding being cut and was working with Senator Murray, who is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, to restore funding. He urged that we all needed to work together to get it restored. Because of his can-do attitude and long legacy of achievements, I said we considered him a champion in the cause to save and grow service. I mentioned that stakeholders from his District wanted to meet with him to discuss how we could best support his efforts to champion national service. He agreed and also suggested that constituents in the 8th and 3rd Congressional Districts should be talking with Cong. Reichert and Herrera-Buetler about the value of AmeriCorps and the impact to their communities, if the funding were to be cut or eliminated. He felt they might be responsive if enough constituents made their voices heard.

Congressman Rick Larsen and IIntroducing Cong. Dicks at this event was Cong. Rick Larsen, from the 2nd Congressional District. Cong. Larsen also expressed his support for national service and said there were major problems with the lack of funding for it in the House budget. When asked what constituents could do about this, he replied that he always wanted to hear from his constituents about their issues and concerns, as do all congressional members.

So the message I keep hearing from these Members of Congress is that we need to let Congress know how important AmeriCorps is to our communities, and to stay vigilant in raising our voices to save and grow national service.

Carol can be reached by email at cfarer@servenext.org

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