Last week was the APA 2020 Policy and Advocacy Conference, focusing on ways planners can contribute their voices to issues of transportation, housing, and equitable COVID-19 recovery. Policy and advocacy is key to what planners do, though we don’t often think of ourselves as advocates. Even so, as Former US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, using stories of our local communities in advocating for policy decisions is critical to helping elected officials understand what is needed in preparing for our futures. In his words: planners aren’t loud enough!
The conference also included the first ever virtual iteration of Planners’ Day on Capitol Hill. This is an opportunity for planners to come together with legislators and their staff to discuss issues of importance to planners and our communities. The virtual format enabled five of Georgia’s planners to participate this year. We spoke to staffers from the offices of Senator Perdue, Senator Loeffler, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Ferguson, and Rep. Allen to ask for federal support for a planning-led recovery that will help us build back better. Our discussion topics included near-term COVID-19 relief in the form of fair, flexible dollars allocated to local communities as well as long-term reauthorization of the surface transportation funds (FAST act).
To strengthen our professional voice, please consider joining the Chapter’s Policy and Advocacy Committee (PAC). We send out information throughout the year and hold regular conference calls during the legislative session. For questions, please reach out to Sara Patenaude, PAC Coordinator.