ALERT: Encourage Members of Congress to

Join Hazards Caucus

(Posted 11-30-05)


This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's member societies.

The Congressional Hazards Caucus, a bicameral caucus of congressional members concerned about natural and man-made hazards has sent letters to their colleagues in the House and Senate inviting more members to join the caucus. Currently the caucus membership includes 16 senators and 7 representatives, and is led by four co-chairs from each chamber. The Senate co-chairs are Ted Stevens (R-AK), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Ben Nelson (D-NE) and the House co-chairs are Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), Dennis Moore (D-KS), Jo Bonner (R-AL) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). The caucus provides congressional members with information and education on preparing for, mitigating against and responding to natural disasters and man-made hazards. The caucus provides members with an opportunity to demonstrate their concern and commitment to reducing hazard losses. Jurisdiction for hazards programs is spread among many committees in Congress. Each committee only handles a piece of the overall efforts to prevent and mitigate hazards. A caucus can provide the "big picture" to interested lawmakers and their staff, and give them the opportunity to see how the issues that fall within individual committee jurisdictions fit within a larger national effort. Typical caucus events include Capitol Hill luncheon briefings, roundtable discussions, special forums, receptions, and events targeted to a subgroup of the caucus. Events can be structured so that they also provide a forum for raising the visibility of a hazards-related topic with the media and the public. The caucus is for education, networking and information-gathering and does not advocate for any specific legislative objectives.

The caucus has grown since its formation in the Senate in 2000 and in 2005 the caucus became bicameral, opening up its membership to the House. AGI and many Member Societies (AASG, AGU, GSA and SSA) belong to the Hazards Caucus Alliance, a network of professional, scientific, and engineering societies, relief organizations, higher education associations, trade associations, and private companies that works to promote the goals of the caucus.

The primary goal of the Alliance is to develop a wider understanding within Congress that reducing the risks and costs of natural disasters, as well as man-made hazards, is a public value. That requires educating Members and staff about the costs of these disasters to their districts and states, and the benefits their constituents will realize through greater efforts to understand, prevent, and mitigate all hazards. The alliance supports the efforts of the caucus, originally established under the leadership of co-chairs Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Senator John Edwards (D-NC) in 2000. A successful caucus reflects a strong partnership between its congressional members and organizations outside Congress that share similar interests. This effort is an outgrowth of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) forums on public policy issues in natural disaster reduction, a cooperative endeavor of the National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction, the Institute for Business and Home Safety, and other private sector organizations.

Please write letters (sent by fax or email) or call members of your congressional delegation and encourage them to join the caucus if they are not already members. A list of the current members is available on the alliance web site at www.hazardscaucus.org. Hazards affect the entire country and as the recent hurricanes have shown, we need to prepare for, mitigate against and respond to disasters on individual, local, state and federal levels. Below are some sample letters, one for the House and one for the Senate. You are welcome to add a paragraph introducing yourself and providing more specific reasons for your senator or representative to join the caucus. Please note that the House returns from its Thanksgiving recess on December 5 and the Senate returns from its recess on December 12. Letters sent to Washington that arrive when the member is back in DC may receive more immediate attention. Congress will adjourn for the year on December 16.

The Honorable __________
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510


Dear Senator __________:
I am writing to encourage you to join the Congressional Hazards Caucus. The caucus provides members with an opportunity to demonstrate their concern and commitment to reducing hazard losses. Jurisdiction for hazards programs is spread among many committees in Congress. Each committee only handles a piece of the overall efforts to prevent and mitigate hazards. A caucus can provide the "big picture" to interested lawmakers and their staff, and give them the opportunity to see how the issues that fall within individual committee jurisdictions fit within a larger national effort. The caucus is for education, networking and information-gathering and does not advocate for any specific legislative objectives.

A Dear Colleague Letter is being circulated in the Senate, inviting members to join the Caucus. For more information, please contact Ben Billings of Senator Landrieu's staff at 224-5824.

The Honorable __________
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative __________:

I am writing to encourage you to join the Congressional Hazards Caucus. The caucus provides members with an opportunity to demonstrate their concern and commitment to reducing hazard losses. Jurisdiction for hazards programs is spread among many committees in Congress. Each committee only handles a piece of the overall efforts to prevent and mitigate hazards. A caucus can provide the "big picture" to interested lawmakers and their staff, and give them the opportunity to see how the issues that fall within individual committee jurisdictions fit within a larger national effort. The caucus is for education, networking and information-gathering and does not advocate for any specific legislative objectives.

A Dear Colleague Letter is being circulated in the House, inviting members to join the Caucus. For more information, please contact Laura Hall of Rep. Moore's staff at 225-2865 or Kelle Strickland of Rep. Bonner's staff at 225-4931.


For more information about the caucus and the alliance visit: http://www.hazardscaucus.org

 


Alert prepared by Linda Rowan, AGI Government Affairs Program

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted November 30, 2005