the APA policy conference is really important to me because I work for a agency that is federally funded so coming to this conference is a good way for me to keep in front of issues that impact my eight my Housing Authority pretty pretty directly as well as it allows me the opportunity to find out about hot trends happening in DC that will eventually come down to the local level you know the kinds of discussions that that occur today in our world with issues of a global nature broad issues like climate change housing affordability development matters that affect everyone it's imperative really that we understand what the policy issues are from a national perspective be fresh and current on those issues but not just understand what what's being discussed in the sort of national policy level but contribute to that policymaking as well all of those things are you know very important reasons to attend the APA policy conference I always look at the advocacy and policy conference in the fall is something to look forward to because we bring all the experts who I mean beating Alaska it's so hard sometimes to get the handle on experience with some of the federal components and really having those experts in these rooms where we can have the one-on-one dialogue with them it really helps to better understand transportation issues HUD issues funding issues there were some things that I hadn't even understood until I had the opportunity to speak to somebody during the fall conference as a planner everything we do centers around policy whether it be state policy federal policy of course we all deal in local policy the federal policy and federal funding decisions drive what we do at home so coming to Washington DC and participating in this policy conference at 8p8 puts on is extremely important so that our leaders in Washington know what plantings about what we bring to the table and also what solutions we can bring for things like economic challenges housing transportation these are things that our leaders need to hear and who better to hear from than planners themselves I'd work in current planning and so I'm just reviewing applications all the time I'm taking phone calls and complaints usually from from residents and citizens so I don't get really to work on anything on a federal level in my job it's all local local local so coming to the the policy conference is like the only chance I get to really have any kind of hands on experience with what's going on in a federal level the APA policy and advocacy conference has been something I've never missed for the last several years but two reasons both the policy part of it is a way for planners to check in and to see what's going on at the federal level to go face-to-face with some of the administrators once in a while we'll see some of the really important people on Capitol Hill but we get to bring that message back to our local communities it finally is important because it's one of the few opportunities that planners working in local communities have to tell their stories directly to folk to making federal policy it's a chance to link abstract federal policy ideas and programs to real people's lives and what's happening back in their states back in their district it's a platform for APA it allows members of Congress to know that APA has ideas for improving programs and really gives a platform both for our members in the organization to be more prominent to gain influence and importantly I think to build a relationship because at the core of this it's an opportunity for members to establish a relationship with the congressional office that will benefit them well beyond the work that they do on behalf of APA but in the work that they do every day back home I really enjoy planners day on the hill because it gives me the opportunity to meet with legislative staff from my home district that I don't always get a chance to see as well as APA really does provide some great talking points and it really gives us a key to have those conversations and when I get back home it gives me the tools I need to follow up with state legislators because I can use those same topic talking points because it's pretty much the same issues hitting the hill on Tuesdays a big part of it all you know I live in a small state has small set of Representatives and I can get hold of them almost anytime I their staffers are great but meeting them on their turf you know outside of Alaska is huge for us so I think you know being able to have that experience talking those people one-on-one it's invaluable it's such a you know it's almost like larger than life experience walking the halls of Congress literally and and and meeting all these people and yeah I just don't know that they get much exposure to planners for planning so it's a great interaction to have on a completely new level especially if your job is is something that's completely unrelated to anything kind of better level well it's pretty exciting because you hear all your life about well on the hill this and that and it's on TV every day and you know do you ever think that you would ever have the opportunity to actually participate and be one of those lobbyists on the hill to talk about things that you're interested in but you know actually your meeting with your representative so you have a lot of things in common that you can talk about you can relate it to the communities where you live or where you might be a planner and then there's this wonderful briefing that you get where you actually find out what are the current legislative issues you know what are the votes you know what are some of the strategies and it's you're very well prepared but it's you know it's also you know a little bit of a challenge but it's fun and in a good way so yes I really enjoyed it it's been a great experience planners day on the hill is one of the best opportunities for planners to actually talk to their congressional folks some of whom they know personally some of whom they went to high school with but when I come here to see my congressman who I did go to high school with I can sit there in their office and it's a whole different atmosphere and I can tell the story of planning and their and it's more real to them and and it's a great opportunity for planning to be at the national level and bring those messages back down to communities where we live and breathe every day and night while I come into planners day on the hill because it gives me the opportunity to share the perspective of planners and the planning profession on important issues of the day that equally important I get to hear what the perspectives are of the representatives and Senators with him I meet and some of those are not of my political stripe and so it just helps me understand where they're coming from and why they're cautious or skeptical or curious about a program that I may be advocating for and then it also gives me a chance to thank the representatives and senators who support planning programs and good planning and I think they'd like to hear that as well so it just gives you better insights into the mindset of Congress and what they're up against when it comes to the challenge of funding and and developing programs that are good for America