Lobbying 101 will be a conversation moderated and hosted by Jane Palmer, a citizen activist and founder of Indivisible Berks, a 1,500-member group that empowers the members of our community to effectively participate in the democratic process, and opposes authoritarian, corrupt and dangerous policies. She will be joined by Erica McBride and State Representative Mark Rozzi.
Erica McBride is passionate about cannabis reform and many other social justice issues. She is the secretary/treasurer of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and the Keystone Cannabis Coalition, which was on the front lines of the movement that led to both the legalization of industrial hemp and medical cannabis in Pennsylvania.
State Representative Mark Rozzi represents the 126th legislative district, including parts of Reading, Temple, Muhlenberg, Laureldale, Mount Penn, St. Lawrence, West Reading. A lifelong resident of the district, he graduated from Muhlenberg High School and Kutztown University. His legislative priorities include education, property tax relief, improving the commonwealth’s aging infrastructure system and safeguarding our children from predators.
Lobbying is often thought of as a dirty word, but it means nothing more than advocating for legislative change, a wholesome and necessary activity in a functioning democracy. The millions of Americans who have taken to the streets and the halls of Congress in recent months are doing just that, trying to influence their elected officials to vote one way or another in accordance with their views. This is not new, of course; activists have been fighting for justice and against authoritarianism for centuries. What’s new is the range of issues and the scale of engagement. People whose involvement in the political process had been limited to voting every four years are waking up to the fact that democracy is messy and complicated — and that lobbying effectively is not easy. We’ll talk to two Berks County residents who know first-hand how it works, and how ordinary citizens can learn the skills they need to make their voices heard.