NYLCV Participates in National Young Leaders Program

By Johnluca Fenton

Last month, I participated in the National LCV Young Leaders Program in Washington DC. As part of the larger National LCV Lobby Day, the Young Leaders Program offered me and 70 or so other young leaders and activists from across the country a crash course in LCV’s three main congressional campaigns: the push for legislation to provide full and permanent funding for the Land and Wildlife Conservation Fund (LWCF), the need to address the PFAS contaminant crisis in our drinking water, and the campaign to introduce and ultimately pass equitable and pragmatic clean energy legislation. 

Over the course of the exhaustive full-day event, we had the opportunity to hear from current Capitol Hill lobbyists as well as leading congressional representatives on an array of topics relating to congressional environmental action. On the lobbying side, we met Hasan Nazar, a former LCV staffer and current lobbyist. With nearly two decades of lobbying under his belt, Hasan spoke bluntly and honestly about how successful lobbying is accomplished while fielding questions from participants. Among the techniques and skills Hasan shared with us were to ensure you strike a fine balance between emotional and data-based arguments when lobbying on environmental issues, and to always make sure to conclude any lobbying meeting with a hard ask of the representative that you can be sure to follow up on. 

Later on in the day, we as Young Leaders were treated to a truly special and informative meeting with two of the founders of the House Environmental Justice Caucus, U.S. House Representatives Barragan (CA-44) and McEachin (VA-4). Throughout their discussion, the two representatives emphasized the need for bi-partisan support in climate legislation and the need for climate legislation to take seriously the concerns of environmental justice advocates. 

With our intense day of training complete, we then immediately were given the opportunity to apply what we had just learned as we stormed the Hill along with almost 300 other LCV staffers, volunteers, and supporters as part of the official LCV Lobby Day. As part of the New York Delegation, I was able to meet with over a dozen congressional representatives and their staffs while applying the techniques and strategies I had picked up just the day before. It was an incredibly amazing and surreal experience that allowed me to fight for the pressing environmental causes of the day while also picking up valuable lessons that I will carry with me as I continue on my journey in environmental activism.