by Taylor Gendel
Wednesday, May 6th 2015 was ISEA’s Solar Lobby Day in Springfield and my first time attending. The capitol was buzzing with energy as we embarked on our journey to promote the Illinois Clean Jobs bill.
Everyone who attended ISEA’s Lobby Day was split into groups according to their legislative districts and tasked with tracking down and attempting to speak to a list of Representatives and Senators. I personally spent this time hand delivering letters of support for the Clean Jobs Bill, signed by ISEA event attendees, to legislator’s offices.
The capitol schedule is unpredictable and ever changing, so everyone spent a lot of time regrouping and running around when meetings ran late or plans were changed. Someone in the group had a pedometer and said his group walked 6 miles throughout the day.
StraightUp Solar was one of the groups that attended Lobby Day. Shannon Fulton and Emma Gilmore provided their reflection of the day:
“StraightUp Solar enjoyed taking part in this important event and looks forward to growing our business with the certainty the Clean Jobs Bill will bring to Illinois's renewable energy marketplace and labor force. Our lobby day team, which also included another solar industry member and Illinois State University Renewable Energy student, had very engaging discussions with several legislators, including Rep. Thomas Bennett (R), Rep. Keith Sommer (R) Sen. Don Harmon (D), and Rep. Jay Hoffman (D), who agreed to also co-sponsor the bill.”
Like theirs, most groups had some success speaking to a portion of their assigned legislators about the Clean Jobs Bill. There were a lot of other very large groups lobbying but it was clear to me that our group was well informed and passionate, even though outnumbered.
Progress is slow in politics and this day proved no exception as we ran all around the capitol with delayed meetings. However, it was good to feel like our presence was appreciated and our legislators were interested in the importance of a clean energy economy for Illinois. You can learn more about the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill and show your support even if you couldn't make it to Springfield. Click here
to find out more.