Women. Power. Peace.

Invest in People, Invest in the Future

Tell Congress to support a balanced approach to the federal budget that ensures our economy and security by investing in our greatest asset - our people!

This summer and fall, our nation’s resources and budget priorities and defense strategy, are being debated across the United States at town hall meetings and community events, hosted by members of Congress and political leaders.

What is the topic at hand? Looming automatic budget cuts called sequestration. If Congress fails to meet deficit reduction goals, automatic spending cuts to both the Pentagon and home front investments, like education, veterans’ assistance, healthcare and our roads and bridges, threaten to go into effect in January 2013. This is what Congress agreed to in the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011.

Some political leaders and defense industry contractors are raising alarms about the national and state impacts of potential automatic Pentagon cuts. They claim that any reductions in Pentagon spending would be detrimental to our national security and result in massive layoffs. If they get their way, the Pentagon will be exempt from cuts and even deeper cuts will be inflicted on all other budget investments instead. It is up to you to get to these town hall meetings and community events to put a stop to this fear mongering and present the facts!

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, former Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates have said that America can only be a leader abroad if we are strong at home and that Pentagon spending must be “on the table.” Instead of scaring Americans, these politicians should seek a balanced deficit-reduction plan that includes reductions in Pentagon spending to promote American security and preserve key middle class programs and jobs vital to a stable economy.

Join WAND's new Invest in People, Invest in the Future initiative by following these steps to attend a town hall meeting or community event near you!

Step 1. Find an event near you!

Members of congress often list upcoming town hall meetings and community events on their personal websites. If no listing is available, call your member's office and ask if there are any upcoming events in your community. A list of personal Congressional websites for U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives, where you can find complete contact information, is available here. You might also see other community or campaign events addressing this topic listed in your local newspapers.

Step 2. Prepare for the event !

Once you know the date, time and location of the event you'd like to attend, it is best to do some homework. Make sure that Pentagon spending and/or "sequestration" will be topics of discussion by reviewing the listing on your member's website or calling their office. It is also helpful to have a few questions and talking points ready to use once you're there, as well as Twitter and Facebook posts you can use during the meeting if you have a mobile device. Download WAND's new Invest in People, Invest in the Future Toolkit, including sample questions, talking points, Tweets and Facebook posts. Please let WAND know if you are planning to attend an event by sending us an email.

Step 3. Attend a town hall meeting or event!

A town hall meeting offers a great opportunity to thank your Member in public, call them to action on an issue, or ask them to take a leadership role. The media are often at these events, and media coverage will help influence your member and educate the community. Try to arrive an hour beforehand to increase your chances of getting in as space is most often limited. If you come with friends, it's better to scatter yourselves throughout the audience so the opposition will feel like you are everywhere in large numbers. If there is a microphone set up, plant yourself near it so you don’t end up on the back of the question line. If other people start lining up to ask questions before they are invited to, you should also. You must speak up to be heard. Use those resources in WAND's Invest in People, Invest in the Future Toolkit to be ready to jump at the chance to ask your questions and support your statements with facts when the opportunity is offered. Use those Tweets and Facebook posts to provide live updates from the meeting. Don't forget to snap a few pictures if you can!

Step 4. Talk about the event you attended!

It's great if you are able to attend an event and speak out, and it's even better if you talk about it afterwards! Email WAND to let us know you attended and tell us how it went. If you didn't get a chance to use those Tweets and Facebook posts in WAND's Invest in People, Invest in the Future Toolkit, now's the time! Post pictures and highlights to WAND's Facebook page. Write an op-ed and send it to a local media outlet of your choice. Look for media coverage of the event and voice your thoughts and views in a Letter to the Editor.

And remember, WAND is here to help!

In addition to the Invest in People, Invest in the Future Toolkit, WAND staff is happy to provide you with additional information about budget impacts to your community and the positions of your lawmakers. Please contact Senior WAND/ WiLL Program Associate Adzi Vokhiwa by email or phone (202) 544-5055 for further resources and facts. We are also here to help you talk about your experiences. Please contact WAND/WiLL Communications Officer Jessie Calkins by email or phone (781) 643-6740 for assistance.

We look forward to hearing all about your Invest in People, Invest in the Future endeavors!



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