Next week, I will join our government relations staff in hosting U of M Extension staff and association delegates at the annual Public Issues Leadership Development (PILD)conference in Washington, D.C. This national conference provides two days of intensive public issues education and professional development before Extension staff meet with Minnesota's federal senators, representatives and their staff.
During the conference, Extension faculty and educators learn about the current legislative session, budgets, policy issues and how to build relationships with federal legislators and their staff.
Several U of M Extension educators will attend the conference and are scheduled to visit the offices of Senators Klobuchar and Franken and Representatives John Kline, Betty McCollum, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz to advocate for Extension and tell their stories about how Extension is addressing current issues and challenges in their Minnesota districts.
The U of M Extension delegates include Ellie McCann, family development educator, ESP; Neil Linscheid, community economics educator, MACLEP; Dave Nicolai, crops educator, MAEAP; Amanda Sommers, youth development educator, MAE4-HYDP; Katherine Brandt, food safety educator, NEAFCS; Kathy Olson, family development educator, NEAFCS president; Barb Radke, leadership and civic engagement educator and PILD presenter; Sarah Greening, chief of staff; and Gwen Gmeinder, government relations associate.
It is important for our federal legislators to understand the value of Extension. Visiting with them in Washington has a positive impact on their awareness of our programs and resources. This year we have the added benefit of four 4-H Minnesota youth joining our visits to "the hill."My thanks to the staff who are investing in this professional development opportunity and building active support for Extension.