July 15, 2016 // NiW 2016 Recap: National Legislative Committee Mentee Spotlight, David Skarphol
The National Legislative Committee (NLC) strives to advance the status, professionalism, benefits, and working conditions of all NATCA bargaining unit employees through political and legislative activism. The NLC accomplishes these tasks through grassroots activism, educating and training NATCA members on how to become effective legislative activists, as well as providing political education.
As part of the NLC’s legislative training efforts, they have instituted a mentorship program in order to pass down important institutional knowledge to the NLC of the future. David Skarphol of Phoenix TRACON (P50) was one of three mentees who attended NATCA in Washington (NiW) this year and is honored to share his experience with the membership:
Q: How many times have you attended NiW?
A: I believe this was my seventh event.
Q: What made you want to take on a mentee role within the NLC?
A: I was fortunate to have leaders like Western Pacific (NWP) Region NLC Representative Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik and former NWP NLC Rep Noel Kingston who got me involved, legislatively, early in my career. They showed me the importance of what we do and the difference I can make to benefit our Union. I came in during the White Book, I saw the struggles we faced collectively and I wanted to be a part of ensuring those working conditions would never be repeated.
Q: How has your mentor made an impact on you?
A: Trisha has inspired me to challenge myself and to get more involved. She works tirelessly and selflessly to advocate for our membership. She has shown me the importance not only of working hard, but to have fun and enjoy working with my peers at the same time. Through her example, I’ve learned the importance of acknowledging the sacrifices our members and their families make of their time and talent.
Q: What was the most memorable part of this year’s conference for you?
A: I can think of few people more deserving of the Trish Gilbert Legislative Activism Award than Steve Weidner. Keeping the recognition of the NLC Chair a secret was a great effort by all involved.
Q: What is your advice to members to stay legislatively active at home?
A: It is vitally important that NATCA builds trust and strong relationships with our members of Congress. This starts at the local level. Get involved in your district, phone bank, knock on doors, and attend as many events as you can. NATCA provides many great training opportunities to learn more about getting involved legislatively.
This was my first year behind the scenes with the NLC. We are lucky to have such an awesome and fun team of leaders who give everything they have to this committee. They all work incredibly hard, and it has been an honor to work with them.
NATCA is proud to have one of the most effective grassroots networks in all of organized labor. Working in conjunction with the National Office, the NLC helps craft grassroots messages to make sure NATCA is represented on Capitol Hill.
The NLC is responsible for ensuring NATCA’s grassroots network of state legislative coordinators, facility legislative representatives, and most importantly, member activists, is functioning at its best.
In addition to being a critical part of the planning and coordination that goes into NiW, the NLC is primarily responsible for the development of NATCA’s Basic and Advanced Legislative Activism classes. Committee members also serve as instructors for these classes, working to develop NATCA’s ever-growing army of legislative activists.