Pictured (L-R): Romessea Lewis, BBIF Loan Processor; Inez Long, BBIF President/CEO; Rep. Stephanie Murphy; Lencia Marc, BBIF Commercial Credit Underwriter; Jasmine Gebon, BBIF Marketing and Communications Officer
For the month of August, OFN is highlighting Members who have scheduled a site visit with a member of Congress. This week’s spotlight features a roundtable discussion with Representative Stephanie Murphy (FL-7) and a district staff meeting with Senator Marco Rubio’s Orlando office. If you have an upcoming congressional site visit or another advocacy related event planned for the month of August, please email Katie Havlovic so we can feature you. If you have not already, check out OFN’s Congressional Site Visit Toolkit, and request your site visit today!
Name: Inez Long, BBIF President, and CEO
CDFI: BBIF Florida
City, State, and Site of Visit: Orlando, FL
Borrower Visited or Description of Event: District office meeting with Senator Marco Rubio’s staff. The meeting was to discuss policy and support as a follow up from OFN Advocacy Day. We also had a meeting with Rep. Stephanie Murphy and her staff earlier in the week.
What does it take to have a successful site visit? Staying in constant communication and responding quickly to staff questions and other inquiries throughout the planning process.
What was the highlight of the visit with Sen. Rubio's staff? The willingness of the staffers to follow up with the DC office in advance of the Senate budget sessions in September. Also their offer to help our organization and borrowers with ongoing tasks to ask for funding and opportunities. They also expressed a willingness to write a letter to support or make calls to assist clients.
Pictured (L-R): Inez Long, BBIF President/CEO; Tom Self, Regional Director; Jasmine Gebon, BBIF Marketing and Communications Officer; Djuan Ballinger, BBIF Business Development Officer.
What was the highlight of the microfinance roundtable discussion with Rep. Murphy and her staff? Having Rep. Murphy present, learning more about her determination to impact small businesses, and getting an update on Rep. Murphy's Microloan Modernization bill (H.R. 2056), which passed the house on July 24 with 100% bipartisan support.
Group image of microfinance roundtable attendees
Did you or your borrower provide any impact data (jobs created, how the project was financed, etc.) during these meetings?
With Senator Rubio's staff we did an abbreviated organizational PowerPoint coupled with leave behinds, OFN industry materials and personalized organizational info and clients profiles/success stories – helps to make the ask for support clear and connectable. With Representative Murphy and her staff we provided information about how the microloan bill and its proposed changes would benefit our organization. We also asked her to consider looking into how the technical assistance training dollars are provided.
What is one piece of advice you have for a CDFI that wants to develop a relationship with a congressional office with whom they have never met with before?
Stay in communication; stick to your agenda and talking points ask for their support.