I have to admit it, I am a quiet political junkie, so when SHRM Governmental Affairs Director Mike Aitken telephoned to ask the Pennsylvania State Council of SHRM to host an event in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention, it was very easy to say yes. I was going to Philly! You see, I was an Alternate PA Delegate for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and attended the DNC in Denver, CO. Running as a delegate was not easy, it required obtaining over 350 signatures to have my name placed on the ballot. When the time to run for delegate in 2016 came around, I was too busy to do the work necessary to get on the ballot and I thought that it would be nice for someone else to have the experience of attending the DNC.
While driving from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, I began to feel disappointed that I was not a delegate and I would not be a part of the impending historical event as I was in 2008. There was a lot of excitement in the air in Philadelphia and, yes, a lot of public protests, which was very different from the 2008 convention. In 2008, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign was the first campaign run by a female of the Democratic Party, and Clinton delegates wanted an opportunity to cast their votes and make history. While there were protests and threats to walk off of the convention floor, Senator Clinton graciously asked her delegates to put their feelings aside and cast their votes for Senator Obama. The Convention Hall was united behind one candidate when the roll-call vote was held. Contrast to 2016, where Senator Bernie Sanders’ delegates were able to cast their votes for Sanders during the roll-call vote and were still not happy with the outcome of the vote knowing that Sanders has given Clinton 100% of his support.
I thought that walking around Philadelphia during the convention and not being a delegate would be disappointing. The SHRM Advocacy team made sure that was not the case. I spend a lot of my personal time paying attention to the bills and discussions taking place on Capitol Hill that may potentially affect the company that I work for and the employees that I support. It is important to me as an HR professional that I am aware of what’s going on and take action when possible. During the RNC and the DNC, SHRM hosted Public Policy forums and discussions sharing SHRM’s 21st Century Workplace policy initiative. Each of the events that I attended reinforced the need for HR to share their opinions with our elected officials and help influence the future shape of the workplace. SHRM makes it so easy for us to do so. All that you need to do is read, react and reach out! Read the proposals, react (form your own opinion) and reach out to your elected officials to express your thoughts.
No matter what side of the Presidential election that you are on, I cannot stress how important it is to pay attention to the candidates and other candidates running for office. Choose the candidates that you believe will make a difference. Remember, #HRVotes!
Originally posted on the SHRM Policy Action Center Blog.