Walking The Halls & Not Shaking Hands...
National Preservation Advocacy Day in Washington DC
On March 9, Jim Igoe and Erin Kelly traveled to Washington, D.C. for National Preservation Advocacy Week, an annual gathering of preservationists to advocate for legislation, programs and support from our respective delegations. This trip has been made many times before (a little birdie told us that this was Jim’s 37th year advocating on Capitol Hill, not all of them with PM though) but what we did not realize was how unprecedented this year would be and how fast things would change between our arrival and our departure that Friday.
Along with colleagues from MacRostie Historic Advisors and the Boston Preservation Alliance we met with 10 Congressional offices directly (and dropped off 1 information packet). The meetings focused on the following asks:
Congressman Bill Keating (MA-9) with Erin Kelly and Jim Igoe
-$150 Million for the Historic Preservation Fund - included in this is funding that comes directly to Massachusetts to support the SHPO office and other preservation grants.
-Support for the HTC-GO Act, that would enhance the federal historic tax credit program and create a 30% credit for smaller “main street” projects ($2.5 million and under).
-Support for permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a bill that garnered bi-partisan support in the Senate and would also direct funds to address the National Park Service maintenance backlog, an critical issue facing historic resources in our National Parks.
For more information and to see the briefing packets, click here.
Discussing in district work is important too, as elected officials always like to know about ongoing preservation work and efforts within their represented communities. The meetings were overall, very successful; the Massachusetts delegation continues to be supportive of historic preservation. But we know there minds were quickly focusing elsewhere. Not one hour after our final meeting did we hear that the Capitol Building and all Congressional Offices would be closed to the public the following day.
We know that there is a LOT going on right now, but we have to look toward the horizon that this too, will pass and our efforts to strengthen federal support and funding for historic preservation efforts, programs and initiatives nationally will continue.
*Note - all meetings were held before social distancing and regulations on groups over 10.