The Importance of Voting

By Shaunise Day

NCRA Student Member Shaunise Day

Next week, on Nov. 6, we have the chance to let our voices be heard by voting for our elected representatives and community referendums. As American citizens, we all have a civic duty to vote, and the stakes are high in this midterm election year. Some people may feel that their vote does not matter or that midterms aren’t important. But voting is essential to our democracy, and real change will only start when you let your voices be heard by showing up and voting. Whether you are voting early or at the polls, you have the chance to make a difference. Let’s get out the vote for this election year. Your voice has power when you vote.

The midterm elections include elections to federal offices and may determine which political party will control each chamber of Congress for the next two years. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be on the ballots this year. (House Representatives are elected to two-year terms, and Senators are elected to six-year terms.) We the people elect our officials to Congress. In addition, you may be able to vote in many state and local elections. Before heading to the polls, spend a little time researching the measures, propositions, and candidates you plan to support. For more information on what’s on your ballot, go to Vote411.org.

Protecting Our Profession

During this important midterm election year, we have a chance to establish and build relationships with new members of Congress. Behind the scenes, our NCRA PAC Governing Board is advocating on behalf of every member in the court reporting, captioning, and legal video professions. When it comes to legislative issues, it is important that we continue to educate our lawmakers on why our work matters. We must continue to push our agenda on Capitol Hill. For the lawmakers who are in support of protecting our professions, our NCRA PAC works closely at monitoring and contributing to their campaigns.

Your donations to the NCRA PAC are important for this reason. We have a lot of critical issues on the table within our profession. The number one issue is the shortage of reporters that we are experiencing nationwide. Together we can take the necessary steps to rebuild this wonderful profession, but to do so, we need the support and participation of every NCRA member. I am asking you to roll up your sleeves and do your part by getting involved. Now is your chance to be a part of the change that the court reporting and captioning industry is seeking by voting in your local and state elections. Also consider contributing to NCRA PAC. Visit NCRA PAC for more information.

Want to get even more involved? Plan ahead for NCRA’s Legislative Boot Camp coming to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area from May 5-7, 2019. This event offers training in advocating for your profession, speaking with legislators, creating effective campaigns, and more.

There’s lots of fun to be had at the NCRA and NCRF booths

PAC and NCRF booths_croppedBe sure to stop by the NCRA membership, NCRA government relations, and the NCRF booths at the 2017 Convention & Expo and take advantage of savings, grab some giveaways, and learn how you can support the court reporting and captioning professions. All three booths will be located at the host hotel, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., on the Mezzanine Level during the Aug. 10-13 event. Below is a sneak peek at what visitors can expect.

At the NCRA membership booth:

  • Take advantage of savings and special offers from more than a dozen carefully selected industry-leading partners from the NCRA Saving Center, the Association’s official member benefits resource
  • Receive an exclusive discount code for NCRA Convention & Expo participants for 20 percent off everything in the NCRA Store
  • Help your personal brand thrive with resources developed specifically to promote court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers
  • Learn about the A-to-Z program and how you can bring it to your area
  • Sign up to do career fairs for high school and middle school students with materials provided by NCRA
  • Sign up to join the Virtual Mentor Program as a mentor or mentee
  • Pick up an NCRA membership brochure to bring home to a colleague
  • Give a video testimonial about why you love court reporting, captioning, and/or legal videography
  • Get a free professional headshot to use for publicity and the NCRA Online Sourcebook
  • Check out this year’s free giveaways
  • And more

At the NCRA government affairs booth:

  • Contribute to NCRA’s Political Action Committee and be automatically entered to win a Fire HD tablet. Help raise $5,000 in PAC contributions and watch 2017-2018 NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, and Immediate Past President Nativa P. Wood, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, sing karaoke at the President’s Party
  • Learn more about programs and resources available to train volunteer leadership
  • Find out the latest about legislative and regulatory issues at the federal and state levels
  • Check out this year’s cool giveaways
  • And more

At the NCRF booth:

  • Purchase this year’s official Convention pin, featuring a Magic at Your Fingertips design
  • Pick up official pins from previous Conventions to complete your collection
  • Take a chance to win a one-of-a-kind magically designed Luminex generously donated by Stenograph. Raffle tickets cost $50 each or three for $125
  • Pledge as a 2018 Angel and be entered into a drawing for a week-long stay in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at the Villa Del Palmar resort, generously donated by Denise Paternoster, RPR, in loving memory of her husband, Frank Paternoster
  • Be part of Convention history and sign the official Convention register
  • And more

NCRA PAC, NCRF score big at fundraising challenge

Attendees at this year’s Annual Convention & Expo completely embraced a one-time challenge issued to show their support for the court reporting and captioning professions by contributing to NCRA’s Political Action Committee and generating funding for student scholarships through the National Court Reporting Foundation (NCRF).

The challenge – “Put your money where your mouth is!” – was issued by NCRA Executive Director and CEO Mike Nelson, CAE, and the Association’s Washington legislative counsel, Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC. The pair called on attendees to contribute to PAC, and in exchange the two committed to donate an equal amount of their own money up to $5,000 to support NCRF’s student scholarships. In the end, a total of $7,780 was raised in three days to support PAC while NCRF’s scholarship programs received $5,000.

“Mike and I were discussing the connection between student recruitment and government relations. In that conversation, we decided to make a big personal commitment to both by encouraging people to get involved with NCRA’s PAC,” said Wenhold. “Not only did we raise awareness, we knocked it out of the park! This was an opportunity to have our members see directly where their contributions are going.”

Nelson and Wenhold made the challenge during the Premier Session at Convention. During the announcement, Wenhold illustrated how serious he and Nelson were by emptying a backpack of 5,000 one-dollar bills on the stage.

“Needless to say, when Dave and Mike told me about this plan to support NCRF, I was absolutely floored,” said B.J. Shorak, Deputy Executive Director of NCRF. “When they explained the idea and how they were going to promote it in Chicago, I was hoping that their support of NCRF through this fundraiser would motivate members to contribute to PAC.  Even though PAC contributions are not tax-deductible, I hoped the members would feel good knowing that their PAC support was helping the Foundation through Dave’s and Mike’s generosity.”

According to Shorak, as a former NCRA staff member and now as NCRA’s government relations consultant, Wenhold has always supported NCRF, and his donation at this level was a real indicator of his dedication to the profession, while Nelson supports the Foundation with his time and expertise, and financially as an Angel donor. The further personal financial support, she said, went above and beyond.

“I really can’t fully express our appreciation to both of them,” Shorak added.

To continue to encourage the challenge, the $5,000 exhibited during the Premier Session was later moved to the NCRA Government Relations Booth on the Expo Floor, where it was clearly displayed to visitors.

“People loved seeing the pile of cash and knowing they were helping not only the students but also helping legislators who help the reporting community,” said Wenhold. “PAC is often overlooked but is essential to NCRA’s ability to keep our great presence on Capitol Hill. Mike and I were both honored to make that commitment to the profession and thank those who joined our effort.”

NCRA’s PAC supports the Association’s advocacy efforts in the legislative and regulatory arenas, while NCRF, the charitable arm of NCRA, offers an array of scholarships to support students, student interns, and new professionals.

For more information about NCRA’s PAC program, visit NCRA.org/PAC. For information about NCRF, including its scholarship opportunities and how to donate to the Foundation, visit NCRA.org/NCRF.