Finally, the one meeting we had all been waiting for, Representative Donnelly! Believe me I had worked hard to arrange this appointment, even threatening to meet him in the South Bend office if it wasn’t possible in D.C. When his scheduler met us, my first reaction was that she was going to tell us he couldn’t meet. To my surprise, she said he was voting, but would have someone take us to the Capitol so he could chat in between voting.
Nothing is more exciting than being invited to set foot in the Capitol. What an honor this was going to be. I could tell even Jay was excited by his unique reaction. Something like the first time you give candy to a baby. I asked him right away if he had called anyone to tell them about it, LOL. Jay had been participating in lobby day for five years. This was the first time he had been asked to go to the Capitol Floor for a representative visit.
Since Donnelly had been one of those representatives whose support we really needed, ACMA was sending Libby Greer, another paid lobbyist, with us. While we were trying to track her down, one of Donnelly’s assistants said, “I know you…We have letters from you.” He recognized my name from the business card. Perfect! Now I knew that this office was taking all my prior efforts seriously.
Libby showed up and the next thing I know, we are walking outside the Capitol on the east bank lawn and down some stairs to Representative Donnelly. He told me to call him Joe. He took us into the Capitol through a back door entrance and into the Rayburn Room. He was smiling and excited to tell me that he was signing the letter, that he knew all about composites, and that he was there for his constituents. He gave us all business cards and told us if we needed anything to contact him.
I wanted to say, “Will the real Joe Donnelly please step down,” because clearly this wasn’t the man I had been talking to before. Here was proof positive that the letters he received worked. He needs to hear from his people. If he doesn’t, then he’ll think that they are matters of no concern. I suppose I was more impressed when I invited him to the Composites Caucus breakfast the next morning, and he was actually excited and stated he would attend.