December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 22

ADVOCACY

Looking Forward to 2015
By Kevin O'Hara

P

eople all over are frustrated with Washington, D.C. So are we. Incentives
for cooperation between our two major political parties are few and far
between, and as the reins of Congress are about to be handed over to
the Grand Old Party for the final two years of President Obama's term, we
anticipate more of the same old gridlock and finger pointing. So where does
that leave us? Is all hope lost? Should we throw up our hands and walk away in
frustration? As tempting as it may be, it's time to flip the script. Traditionally we
come to Washington looking for dollars and solutions. This year, we are going
to be asking for our federal partners to either help or get out of the way. It's time
to shine the spotlight away from D.C. and onto the places around the country
where government is working, and has to work.

As we gear up for the 114th Congress,
we look forward to working with our
members to tell our story on your turf
(be it natural grass or artificial). Sharing
and showing examples of federal-local
partnerships on the ground will help us
amplify that message here in D.C.
So skip the long flight and the security lines. Spend 2015 inviting your elected officials to join you for park open20	 Parks & Recreation

ings, trail dedications, and summer and
after-school meals programs to show
elected officials that those dollars that
come from Washington make a difference back home. We're not asking for
the federal government to pay for all of
our infrastructure and programming,
just to be a reliable and stable partner
year in and year out so that park and
recreation agencies can do their work

| D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 4 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

transforming lives in their communities. You are innovating, and will continue to do so, but those dollars, programs and partnerships make your job
easier and multiply the impact of your
work. Next year, we're focusing on
three major programs up for reauthorization. Each has a long history of bipartisan support and will require some
sort of action next year. Use your best
assets - your parks, recreation centers, staff and community - to help
our federal elected officials understand
how you leverage federal dollars.
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation
Fund will expire in September 2015,
and new leaders in the House and
Senate are looking at major reforms
to this 50-year-old program. The State
Assistance Program, which funds state



December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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