It was a busy lunch hour at Shapiro’s Delicatessen, a staple of downtown Indianapolis. Maxine Thomas, RESULTS Grassroots Board Member, and I had stepped in to meet our new member of Congress. Senator-elect Mike Braun was to hold a town hall – dubbed his “Office Hours” – at the deli.
Maxine and I made our way back to the small space where the event was being held, and helped ourselves to coffee as we waited. When the Senator-elect finally arrived, he came directly our way, and proceeded to thank us for setting up the hospitality for the event. We chuckled. “Shapiro’s is terrific, you’re right – but we’re actually two of your constituents!”
Thanks to that little misunderstanding, we had first dibs on a conversation with our now-Senator. We let him know who RESULTS is and who we are, and we talked about important issues of poverty that we care about. We also let him know that other RESULTS colleagues would be at an event he was holding that evening.
After our chat, Maxine and I sat down with our coffees. A few of Braun’s staff members, some locally-based and others expecting to be stationed in DC, approached us. One staffer was eager to know about our nutrition work, as she had studied that issue in school. Another told of his faith background, and discovered that he and Maxine had a mutual friend; they took a quick selfie as a surprise for them. We even made Senator Braun’s official Twitter feed!
We saw that afternoon that new members of Congress will need a lot of guidance from RESULTS advocates. With our Senator-elect and staff, we dove into our grassroots model and our focus on sustainable, compassionate solutions for poverty. As constituents, we’ve been building relationships with the Indiana delegation for years, and we’ve seen how policymakers often resonate with our approach and agenda.
We were excited that just a few hours later, our local colleagues would also be making the case to the Senator-elect for RESULTS and our issues. RESULTS Indiana felt like a real team that day. We were glad to make known to our new senator that we were poised to be partners in working for congressional leadership on the end of poverty.