Take Action: Contact Your New Legislators in Congress; Urge Support for Federal Arts Funding

January 19, 2011
From: Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel
Vol. 01:11

Take Action: Contact Your New Legislators in Congress
Urge Support for Federal Arts Funding

A new session of Congress begins this month, with dramatic changes in leadership and political control. Divided government has returned, and if either party is to succeed in the year ahead, Republicans and Democrats must work together, particularly across Capitol Hill from the House to the Senate.

Contact your legislators. With more than 100 new legislators taking seats in the Senate and the House, new faces on Capitol Hill mean many new senators and representatives unfamiliar with the work of state arts agencies and the role of public funding for the arts. Now is the time to acquaint yourself with those you have not known and reacquaint with those with whom you might have worked in the past. Your legislators need to hear from you—their constituents—about the value of the arts in their communities and the importance of public funding to make the arts available to their constituents.

Spending is the issue. The new 112th Congress has urgent work ahead of it. Issues of budget and spending top the legislative agenda. The current continuing resolution for fiscal year 2011 carries spending for all federal agencies at the 2010 levels until March 4. Before that date, Congress needs to set the final spending levels for the remaining six months of the 2011 fiscal year. In mid-February, President Obama expects to send to Congress his proposed budget for the 2012 fiscal year. Austerity budgeting is the theme, and the outcomes are uncertain.

The new Republican leadership in the House is intent on cutting spending from selected programs. The new chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), intends to set spending reduction targets for each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees to achieve in drafting their money bills for the new fiscal year and the remainder of the current year.

Our advocacy is focused. NASAA and our advocacy colleagues are working together to ensure that key leaders in the House and Senate understand the value of funds appropriated to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). We are meeting every two weeks (our Cultural Advocacy Group usually meets monthly) in this new political environment to plan our strategy and develop a unified message to Congress. The role of the arts in economic revitalization and job creation is a key component in our message to legislators who are concerned about the employment prospects of their constituents and the economic vitality of their communities. We need your help to carry that message to Capitol Hill.

Your advocacy counts. The effort begins now to shape new legislators into political partners—politicians who believe that the arts are an important public responsibility. Over the next few weeks, please make a point to be in touch with your newly elected legislators, listed here. To develop strong political support for the arts in the legislature, it is essential that our newly elected public officials understand the beneficial work done by public arts agencies.

Use this time to introduce yourself to your senators and representatives in Congress. (The same holds true for your state legislators.) Illustrate the work of your state arts agency with information about how federal funds from the NEA serve the citizens of your state. Make yourself available with helpful information and offer to be of counsel when questions arise about arts funding and federal cultural policy. Nothing focuses the attention of our representatives in Congress more than knowing the concern of their constituents on a particular issue.

You may contact your senators and representatives by e-mail at http://www3.capwiz.com/mygov/dbq/officials/ (see Get Involved at right). Convey these points with examples of the work you do in your state:

  • Public funding for the arts is a sound investment in states and communities facing tough economic conditions.
  • The arts generate jobs, tax revenues and consumer spending.
  • NEA funds to state arts agencies will enable state support for the arts to continue where a depressed economy has resulted in revenue shortfalls.

You may also reach your legislators by phone through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121; or schedule a visit with your new senators and representatives when they are at home. If you are coming to Washington, set up an appointment to meet with your state’s congressional delegation on Capitol Hill. Let me know when you plan to be here and I will be pleased to accompany you on your visit.

New members of the U.S. House of Representatives:

AL: Rep. Martha Roby (R), Rep. Mo Brooks (R), Rep. Terri Sewell (D)
AZ: Rep. Paul Gosar, (R), Rep. Ben Quayle (R), Rep. David Schweikert (R)
AR: Rep. Rick Crawford (R), Rep. Tim Griffin (R), Rep. Steve Womack (R)
CA: Rep. Jeff Denham (R), Rep. Karen Bass (D)
CO: Rep. Scott Tipton (R), Rep. Cory Gardner (R)
DE: Rep. John Carney (D)
FL: Rep. Steve Southerland (R), Rep. Richard Nugent (R), Rep. Daniel Webster (R), Rep. Dennis Ross (R), Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D), Rep. Allen West (R), Rep. Sandra Adams (R), Rep. David Rivera (R)
GA: Rep. Rob Woodall (R), Rep. Austin Scott (R)
HI: Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D)
ID: Rep. Raul Labrador (R)
IL: Rep. Joe Walsh (R), Rep. Robert Dold (R), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R), Rep. Randall M. Hultgren (R), Rep. Robert Schilling (R)
IN: Rep. Todd Rokita (R), Rep. Larry Bucshon (R), Rep. Todd Young (R)
KS: Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R), Rep. Kevin Yoder (R), Rep. Mike Pompeo (R)
LA: Rep. Cedric Richmond (D), Rep. Jeff Landry (R)
MD: Rep. Andrew P. Harris (R)
MA: Rep. Bill Keating (D)
MI: Rep. Dan Benishek (R), Rep. Bill Huizenga (R), Rep. Justin Amash (R), Rep. Tim Walberg (R), Rep. Hansen Clarke (D)
MN: Rep. Chip Cravaack (R)
MS: Rep. Patrick Alan Nunnelee (R), Rep. Steven Palazzo (R)
MO: Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R), Rep. Billy Long (R)
NV: Rep. Joseph Heck (R)
NH: Rep. Frank Guinta (R), Rep. Charlie Bass (R)
NJ: Rep. Jon Runyan (R)
NM: Rep. Steve Pearce (R)
NY: Rep. Mike Grimm (R), Rep. Nan Hayworth (R), Rep. Christopher Gibson (R), Rep. Richard Hanna (R), Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R)
NC: Rep. Renee Ellmers (R)
ND: Rep. Rick Berg (R)
OH: Rep. Steven Chabot (R), Rep. Bill Johnson (R), Rep. Steve Stivers (R), Rep. Jim Renacci (R), Rep. Bob Gibbs (R)
OK: Rep. James Lankford (R)
PA: Rep. Mike Kelly (R), Rep. Patrick Meehan (R), Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R), Rep. Thomas Marino (R), Rep. Louis Barletta (R)
RI: Rep. David Cicilline (D)
SC: Rep. Tim Scott (R), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R), Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R)
SD: Rep. Kristi Noem (R)
TN: Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R), Rep. Diane Black (R), Rep. Stephen Fincher (R)
TX: Rep. Bill Flores (R), Rep. Francisco Canseco (R), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R)
VA: Rep. Scott E. Rigell (R), Rep. Robert Hurt (R), Rep. Morgan H. Griffith (R)
WA: Rep. Jamie Herrera (R)
WV: Rep. David McKinley (R)
WI: Rep. Sean Duffy (R), Rep. Reid Ribble (R)

New members of the U.S. Senate:

AR: Sen. John Boozman (R)
CT: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D)
FL: Sen. Marco Rubio (R)
IN: Sen. Dan Coats (R)
KY: Sen. Rand Paul (R)
MO: Sen. Roy Blunt (R)
NH: Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R)
ND: Sen. John Hoeven (R)
OH: Sen. Rob Portman (R)
PA: Sen. Pat Toomey (R)
UT: Sen. Michael Lee (R)
WI: Sen. Ron Johnson (R)