August 24, 2014
Zach’s Brush with Politics
Recently my youngest son told me he wants to lead his own country when he grows up (watch out world, he just might do it.)
I figured in that case, it was time he had a brush with politics.
Zach’s timing couldn’t have been better, as the Autism Cares Act was due to expire on September 30th, and I thought I could tie his newfound love of politics in with a lesson about the impact this legislation has had on millions of US families . We’d been talking a great deal about what this act has meant personally to our family, and the fact that US Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey had been one of the co-authors of the bill.
I’d discussed with him that I hoped it would pass again, and how Autism Speaks had created a campaign to encourage families to visit their Congressman and urge them to vote to pass the bill. When I told him Representative Smith had an office not far from our house he turned to me and said “I want to go thank him in person.” I then had to explain to a seven-year-old how extremely busy our Congressmen are, and how that probably wasn’t in the cards for us.
I will share with you that this initially did not go over well.
I figured out a way to placate him however with a promise of a trip to his office to meet his incredibly patient assistant Jason, a trip which would include a hand-written thank-you note he would personally deliver himself.
I was informed the trip would also include a stop for ice cream. My son has his priorities straight.
So on a cloudy Wednesday morning I packed my son, his note, and enough money for chocolate chip mint ice cream cone into my SUV. We soon headed out 195 to deliver our heartfelt thanks for Representative Smith’s hard work to help authorize the Autism Cares Act, which eventually culminated with President Obama signing it into law.
I think it’s obvious from the photo how Zach felt about the trip.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Senators Menendez and Enzi, as well as Representatives Smith and Doyle for their tireless work to bring this law to fruition, a law which dedicates 1.3 billion in federal funding for autism over the next five years.
And believe me, our families need it.
Special thanks also goes to Congressman Smith’s office for welcoming my son’s “mission,” and for responding so promptly to our calls.
My son is even more inspired to start his own country, or at least help govern this one.
And as I’ve said for years, with this child, with the right supports and help from our government, anything is possible.
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