May 4, 2001

National Home School Leadership Legislative Summit A Success

PURCELLVILLE, VA—HSLDA and the National Center for Home Education hosted a National Home School Leadership Legislative Summit to brief state leaders on current federal issues and to enable leaders to lobby their U.S. senators and representatives for home school freedom, March 28-30.

Wednesday, March 28, 2001
Delegates from 46 states arrived in Purcellville throughout the day. The summit officially kicked off with tours of HSLDA's new building, a private concert by the Patrick Henry College chorale, dinner, and a "town-hall" style forum. [pic.1]

6:30 p.m.
Patrick Henry College President Michael Farris and other PHC staff led the state leaders on tours of HSLDA, the National Center, and the college. [pic.2] In this picture a tour pauses in the PHC library, containing over 25,000 volumes and periodicals (electronic and print), as well as over 10 million images of early American imprints and newspapers.

7:15 P.M.
As the tours concluded, the leaders gathered in the HSLDA's lobby to hear the PHC chorale perform. [pic.3]

7:30 P.M.
[pic.4] Dinner was a relaxing opportunity for the leaders to catch up, share ideas, and meet with the HSLDA attorney who represents their state. [pic.5]

8:30 P.M.
After dinner, Mike Farris gave a brief PHC update. Then the floor was opened for a town-hall style discussion where leaders from around the country shared what was happening in their state organizations and exchanged views on various current issues. [pic.6] At the close of the meeting, leaders were each given a Summit Legislative Notebook and personal lobby packet.

Thursday, March 29, 2001

[pic.7] Bright and early the next morning, HSLDA staff drove the leaders from their hotel to the Capitol. Representative John Hostettler of Indiana arranged for HSLDA to use the main House Judiciary Committee room in the Rayburn House Office Building for the morning's briefing.

[pic.8] HSLDA President Mike Smith emceed the session as several members of Congress addressed the leaders. In addition, HSLDA Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka discussed the latest trends in state legislation related to tax credits, parental rights, and religious freedom. Doug Domenech highlighted features of the Summit Legislative Notebook, a collection of issues analyses prepared by National Center staff. [pic.9] (Read some of these analyses by clicking here.)

Senator George Allen of Virginia discussed his Education Tax Credit legislation and thanked the leaders for coming to Capitol Hill as representatives for home education. [pic.10]

Next, John Boehner, an eight-term congressman from Ohio and chairman of the powerful House Education and the Workforce Committee, listed the benefits and discussed highlights of President Bush's education proposal. [pic.11] Mr. Boehner concluded that the Education-Workforce Committee would try to keep the president's original language.

[pic.12] Congressman Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania explained the House agenda of the Values Action Team, a coalition of members of Congress and outside groups who share a common agenda on many pro-family issues. [pic.13]

Freshman Representative and home school dad Todd Akin of Missouri gave a down-to-earth account of how he came to run for elected office and ended up in Congress. [pic.14]

After Mr. Akin, Senator Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas described the Values Action Team agenda in the Senate. [pic.15]

Representative Ron Paul of Texas outlined a number of privacy issues in the 107th Congress. [pic.16]

Michele DeKonty, a staffer for Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, briefed the group on the latest efforts to stop the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. [pic.17] Douglas Johnson, Director of Government Affairs for the National Right to Life Committee, briefed the leaders on the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance bill and its impact on the free speech rights of non-profit organizations. [pic.18]

Last on the agenda of congressional speakers was Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas. He gave his perspective on a number of legislative issues and discussed the spiritual atmosphere in Congress. [pic.19]

12:10 P.M.
While the leaders ate their lunch, there was a surprise visit by Ken Connor, newly installed president of the Family Research Council. He thanked the state leaders for their work in cooperation with state family policy councils. [pic.20]

Before adjourning, HSLDA's staffers Caleb Kershner and Samuel Redfern reviewed the lobby packet information and answered questions. [pic.21] After the lobby packets were passed out, the state leaders split up and headed for their scheduled appointments. Many met their congressman and senators personally, shared their concerns about the Marriage Tax Penalty and encouraged these elected officials to support home school freedom. There were even a few surprise visits. Paul Matte of New York State Loving Education at Home was told his senator would not be able to meet with them, but he ran into her in the hallway and had a 10-minute personal meeting with none other than Senator Hillary Clinton. HSLDA staffer, Samuel Redfern had an unexpected opportunity to present the case for home school freedom to Senator John McCain while riding the subway from the Capitol to the Senate.

Friday, March 31, 2001

[pic.22] The next morning, the leaders gathered in Washington, DC, for a special private briefing by White House staff. Held in the Indian Treaty Room in the Old Executive Office Building, the meeting was chaired by Tim Goeglein, special assistant to the president. [pic.23] Leaders were also briefed by Deputy Secretary of Education William D. Hansen [pic.24] and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Don Eberly. [pic.25]

Leaders had the afternoon free to lobby more of the 107th Congress, go sightseeing, or head home. [pic.26]

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