Next, we went to the Hart building. The newer building beamed with all the marble, and it seemed that most senators in this building had given it that special home appearance and feel. We met with Alex, an aide to Senator Lugar. Jay had talked to Alex about ACMA issues just a few years prior, and Alex remembered him, so Jay took the lead at this meeting. Jay and I work so well as a team. We also have an advantage because both of us work directly with the composites manufacturers. Jay owns his company, and I conduct environmental health and safety responsibilities for industry.

As we chatted with Alex, I became aware that I too was learning more and more about the composites industry. Although we didn’t have a lobbyist with us on this visit, I learned from some of his information too. The meeting seemed to go very well. Alex told us he was sure that Senator Lugar would want to do something. He just couldn’t say whether it would be making a call to HHS or signing a letter.

Next we met Zach in Senator Murray’s office. This meant walking back to the Russell building. Of all the meetings, this one appeared to be the most challenging. Senator Murray’s aide was nothing short of intense. Immediately, Zach stepped in. It was great to see how we all worked well together, each of us bringing information to the table.

Our schedule was far enough apart that we should have been able to eat lunch, but it didn’t happen. We left Senator Murray’s office and headed to the Rayburn building to meet Jay’s district representative, Congressman Burton. What a joyful surprise to walk into the office and find soda, water, pretzels, cookies and snacks sitting on a table. We met with Mary O’Keefe, and she invited us to share in these treats. Mary was very interested in what we had to say. She took a lot of notes. Once she listened to us talk about the issues, she decided to interrupt Representative Burton so we could meet him.

Although Burton wasn’t my Indiana representative, Mary stated on numerous issues that she was well informed of the impacts in Elkhart, and she was glad that I had come with Jay because the problems aren’t just in Burton’s district. It wasn’t long before Burton invited us to his office and listened to Jay and I answer his questions. At the end of the meeting he stated he would sign the Boucher-Shadegg letter and wanted to have his picture taken with each of us.