Lobbying

Lobbying for a Change

I started this year with a new adventure: lobbying. Though I had experience working in the Virginia General Assembly before, this was my first time going solo. I began lobbying work for Virginia ASPE (the Association of People Supporting Employment First) at the Virginia General Assembly.

PHOTO: Matthew's Lobbying badge during his first year lobbying for The Virginia Association of People Supporting Employment Lobbying (VAAPSE)

PHOTO: Matthew's Lobbying badge during his first year lobbying for The Virginia Association of People Supporting Employment Lobbying (VAAPSE)

 

The ASPE’s mission focuses on career advancement for people with disabilities. I worked with ASPE to fight for people with disabilities’ rights, focusing particularly on the right to have equal opportunities in the workforce. It’s incredibly important for people with disabilities to be paid fairly (disabled workers are often paid below the minimum wage) and have equal access to opportunities. People with disabilities have so much to contribute to the world, and we deserve the chance to succeed and excel in our careers.

There were a lot of changes this year: we were working with a new governor, working in a new building, and there were over a dozen new legislators. A large part of our conversations focused around Medicaid, which left less time to focus on the three budget amendments. This means we’re going to continue focusing on our budget amendments next year.

Overall, it was a great experience. I made a lot of new contacts and established relationships with legislators, legislative assistants, and administrators. In the coming months, I’m going to continue to learn some more tactics and tools to help serve ASPE, and we’ll continue the fight for equality for people with disabilities.

PHOTO: Matthew smiling In a black suit with a green blue and white striped tie.

PHOTO: Matthew smiling In a black suit with a green blue and white striped tie.

Becoming an Author, Showcases, and More

2018 has been a busy year already, and I wanted to update everyone on some highlights so far.

 

I took part in writing the book Infinite Inspirations: Creative and Daring Responses to Life’s Challenges, which was released at the beginning of March. The book is a compilation of stories from 13 different authors. Each author had a chapter to share how they adapted to challenges life threw their way. Overall, it’s both honest, positive read, and I encourage everyone to check it out!  You would like to purchase a copy of Infinite Inspirations you can do so HERE.

PHOTO: Infinite-Inspirations-Book Cover

PHOTO: Infinite-Inspirations-Book Cover

 

I also presented my first showcases for the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA). The first showcase was in Orlando, Florida, and the second was in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and I focused on discussing how colleges can make their students feel valued by focusing on inclusivity. Both showcases were exciting experiences, and I look forward to doing more in the future.

PHPTO: Matthew presenting on stage at his showcase at APCA Nationals.

PHPTO: Matthew presenting on stage at his showcase at APCA Nationals.

 

As well as advocating on a more local level, I began my lobbying work at the Virginia General Assembly. It was a gratifying experience, and we were able to have some really great discussions. Look forward to more posts to come about that in the future.

 

There are a few projects I’m working on that I look forward to announcing soon, so stay tuned by keeping up with me on social media to find out what I’m doing next.