Starting the Conversation
From dinner tables to nightly news, we are all
talking about the 2016 Presidential election.
In Pennsylvania, Abby Hebenton is not just
talking about politics. As a student at Fairfield
High School in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, she
cares deeply about having a voice and an
active role in the fight for clean water in her
state. To that end, she joined CBF’s new
Pennsylvania Student Leadership Program.
In December, four other students and Abby
traveled to Washington to meet and share
ideas with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and
The imposing granite buildings in
Washington can make anyone feel small
and insignificant. The Russell Senate Office
Building where Senator Casey’s staff met
with the students and other constituents
on a cold winter morning has an elegant
and incredibly high-ceilinged, red-carpeted
For people who love clean
rivers and streams, we can’t
wait until November to
have our voices heard.
D.C. & FEDERAL AFFAIRS
Pennsylvania students (left to right: Allison Markel, Anna Pauletta, Mallory Taramelle-Dickinson, Abby Hebenton, and Maria Seitz)
visited with Senator Casey (center) on a cold December morning to discuss issues important to them.
At first, the visiting students clustered
together at the side of the room. But when
they met Senior Policy Advisor Liz Hermsen,
a thoughtful longtime aide to Senator Casey,
they slowly began opening up and talking
about how farming can be done in ways
that protect local water quality. And then
Ms. Hermsen introduced Claire Borzner,
Legislative Correspondent for Senator Casey.
Ms. Borzner explained that she reads every
single letter or e-mail that the office receives.
She also measures the importance of different
issues based on the number of constituents
that writes in on each topic. The students
were amazed. “Surprisingly, few people actually reach out to the Senator with issues they
think should be addressed,” Abby observed.
When Senator Casey came in, the students
quieted. But, soon the group asked him
if he had advice for active student leaders
who may want to be Senator one day. Casey
smiled, saying they were already way ahead
of him and they laughed, relaxed, and began
to speak. Abby’s message for the Senator?
“People really do care about clean water and
agriculture in Pennsylvania, and we so badly
want to see positive change. What we do in
Pennsylvania affects everyone downstream,
not just Pennsylvanians.” It’s a message our
representatives need to hear.
For people who love clean rivers and streams,
we can’t wait until November to have our voices
heard. And at CBF, we are honored to help
residents—and members like you—discover
throughout the year how easy and important it
is to tell your representatives you expect clean
water in your watershed and in the Bay.
U To learn more about CBF’s federal clean-water efforts, visit cbf.org/DC.