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Texas Civil Engineers Head to U.S. Capital

ASCE Global

Texas Civil Engineers Head to U.S. Capital

Author: Michael Bloom, Chair, Government Affairs Committee

May 2024

Left to Right: Sidney Edmonds, Jenni Peters, Augustine Verrengia, Griselda Gonzales, Alexa Nichols, Michael Miller, Kimberly Cornett, Luca Magenes, Roberto Hernandez, Allen Bud Beene, Nancy Cline, Tiffany Reed-Villarreal, Anna Olveda, and Michael Bloom in the Russel Senate Office Building.

The 2023-2028 ASCE Strategic Plan calls for ASCE to promote and facilitate civil engineering leadership in developing equitable solutions to global challenges. This call to action includes three elements. It calls on ASCE to shape forward-looking infrastructure policy, investment, and implementation, equip civil engineers to shape public policy and awareness and elevate the visibility of civil engineers’ leadership role in society.

To help implement these aspects of the strategic plan, the ASCE Government Relations team organizes the ASCE Legislative Fly-In to Washington, DC, each spring. “Fly-In” participants receive professional development training regarding advocacy in the public policy and lawmaking process over an intensive two-day period. Attendees also meet with their Members of Congress (or their staff) to advance the Society’s collective policy priorities while learning beneficial leadership skills they can bring back to their Sections, Branches, and workplaces.

In the fall of 2023, Texas Section members who were “Key Contacts” and wished to participate in the Fly-In submitted applications to the Society government relations staff. After the applications were reviewed, select attendees were invited to register. 

In February 2024, sixteen Texas Section members traveled to Washington, DC, to join forces with over 200 members from many other states. Over an intense two-day event, ASCE leaders, federal agency leaders, and elected officials briefed attendees on key legislative activities in Congress along with ASCE’s key policy issues; trained attendees on how to lobby and influence elected officials; and provided tips on building and expanding personal relationships with elected officials. Attendees networked with ASCE peers nationwide and attended meetings with Members of Congress or their staff.

Texas Section attendees included: Allen Bud Beene, Michael Bloom, Nancy Cline, Kimberly Cornett, Sidney Edmonds, Griselda Gonzales, Carol Haddock, Roberto Hernandez, Anna Olveda, Luca Magenes, Michael Miller, Alexa Nichols, Jenni Peters, Tiffany Reed-Villarreal, and Augustine Verrengia. 

During the 2024 Fly-In, participants were asked to establish, enhance, or grow personal relationships with lawmakers and their staff members and to advocate for the following ASCE priorities:

  • Passage of an appropriations bill to keep the government open.
  • Reauthorization of the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA).
  • Reauthorization of the National Dam Safety Program.
  • Update the National Low-Head Dam Inventory.
  • Reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program.
  • Enhance Workforce Development in Infrastructure Related Fields.
Left to Right: Allen Bud Beene, Carol Haddock, Alexa Nichols, Michael Miller, Michael Bloom, Keyden Smith-Herold (Senior Legislative Correspondent, Senator Ted Cruz (TX)), Augustine Verrengia, Jenni Peters, Anna Olveda, and Kimberly Cornett.