Policy Pick: Meet the New First 5 LA Federal AdvocatesNovember 14, 2011
| Two federal advocates, who were introduced at a First 5 LA Policy Roundtable, will help the organization keep abreast of the critical federal policy issues that affect Los Angeles County children 0-5 and their families.
In addition, Stephanie Monroe and Alan Lopatin will help First 5 LA identify leveraging opportunities for organizations that serve young children and their families in L.A. County; educate our congressional delegation and other key players about children's issues, First 5 LA's work and the needs of children 0-5 and their families in L.A. County; and monitor legislation.
Monroe said it is important that those in Washington D.C. know what's happening in L.A. County - especially since the county is bigger in terms of size and budget than some states. "Consider us your voice in Washington," she told the more than 40 people attending the Nov. 7 discussion.
Monroe is the president and founder of The Wrenwood Group, a government relations firm. She formerly served as assistant secretary of education from 2005 to 2009. During that time, she was the Secretary of Education's primary adviser on civil rights issues. Previously, she was chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Monroe has worked on legislation including the Family and Medical Leave, Head Start and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment acts.
Lopatin, president and founder of the legislative and government affairs firm Ledge Counsel, formerly served as general counsel to the House Committee on Education and Labor. He was also a member of former President Clinton's Health Care Reform Task Force and on a Head Start Quality Improvement and Expansion Advisory Committee.
Lopatin spoke about the work being done by the U.S. Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (commonly referred to as the Supercommittee), and how few decisions on issues like Early Head Start and Promise Neighborhoods can be made until Congress acts - probably in January.
Lopatin and Monroe agreed that this is a chance to visit with congressional staff members, many of whom are new, to educate them on issues related to health care, early childhood education, nutrition programs and others.
"We do have an opportunity to be proactive," Monroe said.
They both stressed the importance of working collaboratively - even when our lawmakers don't themselves.
"No matter how we got into this mess, we've got to get out of it by working collectively," Lopatin added. "How we achieve our goals is really a matter of relationships."
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