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Meeting with Representative Kathy Manning

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Meeting with Representative Kathy Manning

Dear Editor,

Since I helped to establish the UNCG chapter of Defend Our Future last year, I have personally submitted requests to meet with the offices of Congress members Virginia Foxx, Mark Walker, Ted Budd, Richard Burr, Thom Tillis, and Kathy Manning to have a conversation with us young adults, and particularly students, about climate crisis solutions. Although we have had positive experiences with staffers from Rep. Budd’s and Senator Burr’s offices, most Congress members are less inclined to hold public meetings. So when I spoke with Rep. Manning’s scheduler, Carolyn Calder, about hosting a Zoom event for more than ten or fifteen people, I expected her to say no.

The facility with which the meeting was scheduled was unprecedented. Not only did Carolyn arrange the meeting, but she maintained regular contact with me directly for over two months; we collaborated on an agenda including sections of time for our student group as well as Rep. Manning to speak; we were permitted to publicize the event; and finally, the conversation we had with the Congresswoman was incredibly refreshing.

If more than one person asked a similar question, the Congresswoman was gracious and reiterated her position. If the questions were piercing, she did not avoid them. She remained attentive throughout and addressed as many of each of our concerns as she could. When she did not know, she did not try to pretend to know.

As young people, we are regularly dismissed or even undermined by government institutions. It is no wonder many of us grow skeptical and even cynical towards our representatives. Congresswoman Kathy Manning actively worked toward minimizing those sentiments by engaging with her constituents.

What does this mean for Defend Our Future? As the national nonprofit or as the UNCG club, we now feel more comfortable reaching out to Rep. Manning with our opinions on the climate crisis. We look forward to building our connection with her office and providing them with our organization’s reports and other information about sustainable and renewable solutions.

Thanks again to Carolyn for making the process particularly easy, and especially Congresswoman Manning for her time!

Sincerely,

Andrea Santolim Geller, Greensboro

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