March 13, 2017

Getting settled in!

By Brianna Parsons

We’ve had three days working in D.C. now, and are starting to get the lay of the land. We spent the day Thursday on the Hill again, this time listening to a Senate subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management discussing the Use of Science in Rulemaking. They had three witnesses who were distinguished scientists in their fields. Their discussions highlighted the need for agency transparency on the decisions they make regarding choices of scientific studies helping to shape their policies. The witnesses also highlighted the importance of distinguishing science as a tool to help make decisions, which must be weighted against many other factors influenced by the policies in question. Thus, while science can and should advise policy decisions, science itself is not policy and needs to be weighted against inevitable risks. The conversation was really insightful, and it was great to see the Senate committee calling on scientists for advice.

That afternoon, Kyle and I split up to attend different House committee meetings. I went to the House Appropriations subcommittee on Agriculture’s Member Appreciation Day. What this means, is that other Representatives presented testimony to the appropriations committee regarding issues of importance pertaining to agriculture in their districts that they believed needed funding. It was a great chance to hear a variety of representatives from all over the US describing the most important agricultural issues in their areas, and it highlighted the breath and diversity of US agriculture to me.

After the meeting, I took a quick trip to the Botanical Gardens before attending an AAVMC Congressional Reception. The Deans of multiple veterinary colleges took to the Hill that day to meet with their representatives to discuss issues of importance to their schools and the veterinary profession. We were invited to crash their party that evening and have a glass of wine in the Longworth House Building while discussing how their days went!

After a long Thursday, I was excited to take it easy on Friday and catch up on some emailing and these blog posts. We’re looking forward to setting up meetings with our own representatives to discuss the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act, and will get the chance to visit the USDA APHIS office and Center for Veterinary Medicine next week! As for now, time to enjoy the weekend and explore D.C. with my best friend from college!