At Overseas Americans Week, we have some people specializing in a particular issue (usually one of our three main issues) and others who are generalists. I consider myself a generalist, but spend most of my time working on generating new membership for the Americans Abroad Caucus. That means that in my meetings I go through all three of our main issues and then I personally follow-up on and keep track of Caucus membership.
Here’s how we’re doing:
Before OAW, we had fifteen members. Here they are:
* Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair
* Joe Wilson (R-SC), Co-Chair
* Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
* Frank Wolf (R-VA)
* Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
* John Boozman (R-AZ)
* Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands)
* Steve Cohen (D-TN)
* Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
* Kay Granger (R-TX)
* Henry Waxman (D-CA)
* Michael Honda (D-CA)
* Tom Davis (R-VA)
* Michael Capuano (D-MA)
* Susan Davis (D-CA)
Thus far this year, I have the names of three members of the House who have apparently joined (and I hope to have many more soon; cross your fingers). But since I don’t have that information officially yet, I shouldn’t mention them by name. In any event, here’s how we (hopefully) picked up those three members:
Member # 16: Mysteriously joined without even meeting with us. There is probably a special connection with Carolyn Maloney or Joe Wilson or another specific story that we just don’t know about yet.
Member # 17: This Member attended our reception on Wednesday evening to meet with Chairs Maloney and Wilson and to introduce himself to all of us. I believe that his staff had been visited by a member of our delegation earlier in the week. At the reception, he was very interested in our issues and learned a lot about what we were doing during OAW.
Member # 18: This is my favorite Caucus story. We have in our delegation one OAW participant who is actually a high-powered arm-twisting lobbyist, but is disguised as a sweet grandmother. When you meet Mary Adair Johnson (originally of Louisiana, then Texas and now Paris, France), you can hear the sweet tea and grits in her voice and are immediately lulled into passivity and acquiescence to anything she is asking for. You don’t even notice as she works her wicked lawyerly ways – her Jedi mind tricks – and convinces you to sponsor her bill, join her Caucus or sign over your very eternal soul on the dotted line.
As the voting hearing came to a conclusion on Wednesday, Mary Adair adeptly chose her victim from among the Members still present, wove her way through the crowd and went in for the kill. Smothering him with grandmotherly charm, she turned this Congressman’s ear, twisted his arm and converted his religion without him even knowing it – he had been a Catholic, but is now only a believer in one thing – the Americans Abroad Caucus. All thanks to Mary Adair.
In another note on the Caucus, we had one person tell us this week that “it would be just un-American not to join the Americans Abroad Caucus.” Hopefully that means that another Member will be joining shortly, unless that person was admitting to un-Americanness – an unlikely occurrence on Capitol Hill. Hopefully his sentiment will spread quickly. We’d love to have 435 Members in the Caucus.