Policy and Advocacy Conference 2019 - D.C.

Stephen Villavaso, Jessica Knox, Sen. Bill Cassidy

APA’s 2019 Policy and Advocacy Conference held recently in Washington, D.C. on September 23-25, 2019, provided great opportunities for Louisiana planners to see the APA Leadership in action followed by a great set of technical sessions on how planning interacts with Federal Policy. This annual Policy and Advocacy Conference was centered on the dual themes of housing and infrastructure. Both topics provided for several sessions on all our key issues, including law, transportation and climate change.  These themes were literally brought to life on the day of the conference known as, “Planners Day on the Hill.” On that day Louisiana planners met with members and staff of both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

Joining myself at these meeting was Jessica Knox who works for the Housing Authority of New Orleans.  Jessica is a planner/attorney that brought a great local perspective to the housing issues discussed.  Also attending the Louisiana meetings was Amy Fottrel, a Louisiana native who is presently is a graduate planning student at the University of Wisconsin. Amy’s view as a new professional planner highlighted to each member of the Louisiana delegation the importance of the future impacts of these issues and how planners can assist in directing the right solutions from a Federal level to a local program. Our meeting with Senator Bill Cassidy was very special when he met with us personally and pledged to work with local planners throughout the state.

A short note on the numerous APA leadership meeting that I attended; APA leadership is focused on re-tooling the CM requirements for AICP. New focused areas and updated study guide will be great tools for both experienced planners and the new incoming group of new AICP’s. Watch for some of our old friends (Mitch, Leo, etc.) and new (Joel, Kim, etc.) joining us at our upcoming conferences and events. APA leadership loves visiting Louisiana and continues to completely support our chapter as we grow and advance the issues of planning all over our state.

Jessica Knox, Amy Fottrel, Stephen Villavaso

Thank you for the privilege of representing you at this great event.

--Stephen D. Villavaso, FAICP