AFSA lobbies for Airmen, vets

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ian Barrow
  • 12th Air Force training manager
Lobbyists. I am going to take a wild guess and assume the first thing that came into most of your minds is of a corrupt businessman attempting to bribe congressmen. However, have you ever really thought about what a lobbyist is? A lobbyist is someone who represents the opinions, well being and interests of a group. Most of us will never be able to go and meet with a senator personally, it's just not practical. Lobbyists represent just about all walks of life, professions, opinions, beliefs and ideologies that our nation has. I am sure you are asking at this point, "what does this have to do with me?" Simple, the Air Force Sergeant's Association is your representative to Congress. They represent us all and our welfare.

The fact that they represent us in congress should be of immediate importance to us all in these trying times of recession. As an arm of the government, our budget is subject to swings in opinion. Right now is the time of belt tightening. We know that cuts will be coming; from reductions, to tuition assistance, to the possibility of retirement benefits being taken away from us. This talk is all over Capitol Hill. AFSA is our best way of making sure we're heard. As former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has pointed out in a speech to Duke University, less than one percent of the U.S. population is serving in the military. As a small percentage, our representation has a very serious threat of being drowned out by others. That is why it is so important to join AFSA and tell your AFSA representatives what your concerns for the future are. They look after us and our benefits.

It is not only in this grandiose manner that they protect our interests. They also look after matters close to home. Here at D-M, AFSA Chapter 1261 is highly engaged in the local Veteran's Affairs hospital. Regular volunteer events are held with the intent of making sure our vets are taken care of and have a decent standard of living. It is important that we take care of our vets for they have forged the path before us. Your local D-M chapter is also a voice to the base. From housing issues, to childcare concerns and standards of living, AFSA Chapter 1261 does what it can to protect the interests of the Airmen on D-M.

It is important that we look out for our own interests. It is important that we are represented in the very government we have sworn to protect. However, it is also important that we protect those Airmen that will come after us. We will all leave or retire from the Air Force, but the Air Force will go on protecting this nation after we are gone. We must do what we can to make it an organization that is worth joining. We must make it an organization that is strong for centuries to come. This is done by taking an active part in our government and making sure AFSA is a capable voice for all Airmen. If you are not a member, please take a moment and really think about why you are not and what benefits you stand to lose. I hope that all who read this will decide that they want their voices heard and will join. I hope to see you at the next monthly meeting here at D-M.