March 2011 - Parks & Recreation - 6

PDEERS
PAPRTM
E CTIVES
ENT

A Message from NRPA's Leaders

Make It Count

Y

our advocacy counts-maybe now more than ever. More than a hundred new
legislators now work on Capitol Hill who may be unfamiliar with the value of
parks, recreation, and conservation in their districts.

Our annual Legislative Forum is this month and,
given the economy, some of you may view the likelihood of positive results with skepticism. After all,
the recession has left states and municipalities with
substantial budget shortfalls, and parks, recreation,
and leisure services departments have been forced
to reduce programs, personnel, and maintenance.
Some facilities have even been closed, and more cutbacks may be ahead.
That's why it's even more important that we show
legislators the significant work our agencies are doing to contribute to the health and well-being of the
American people. We need these new legislators as
political partners who believe in our cause. How will
we make our case?
First, when it comes to local parks and recreation programs, surveys and studies indicate that
they remain popular and are strongly supported. " All politics is local, " the saying goes, encapsulating the principle that a politician's success is
directly tied to his or her ability to understand constituent issues. While politicians may rage against
government waste and inefficiency, and disparage
federally supported programs in general, they virtually all enjoy attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies and trumpeting the approval and completion

of government-funded projects in their own states
and districts.
Second, the timing of our visit is critical, as the
problems of childhood obesity and related health
issues are the focus of media attention right now.
Parks and rec programs are essential in combating
the negative effects of these serious concerns. We
can keep families in the spotlight, where they belong.
And lawmakers are also parents and grandparents.
They have undoubtedly cheered on youth teams and
participated in family outings to neighborhood parks.
I've participated in this annual trek to Capitol Hill
to seek support for parks and recreation programs for
a number of years. Because even the strongest deficit
hawks understand our programs will directly benefit and be appreciated by their constituencies, most
have either responded positively, or are at least open
to being convinced that they should support them.
Please join me in Washington! We have a strong
case to make that it is both good policy and good
politics for members of Congress to support parks,
recreation, and conservation initiatives and to ensure
that funding be maintained. While this is always our
message in these annual forays to Washington, it is
even more imperative that it be delivered in these
difficult times and to these new legislators.
®

Janna Rankin
Chair

4

Parks & Recreation

MARCH 2011

WWW.NRPA .ORG



March 2011 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2011 - Parks & Recreation

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