March 23, 2018 | Blog Post

Testimony at the Capitol: Why I did it and why you should too

By David Navas, Advocacy Fellow

Testimony isn’t just a 3-minute speech. It’s more than that. Each word represents a value you want to convey to your legislators; a value you want your legislators to understand. Because at the end of the day, the legislators behind the dais at the Capitol are just people, everyday Coloradans, whose job it is to listen and vote for what they believe is best for those they represent – which is you.


To say the Capitol is a beautiful building would be an understatement. It’s grandiose with its golden dome, marble floors, and stairways. But it’s majestic nature is also what makes it intimidating. Thousands of bills have passed and died underneath the golden dome to influence laws that have made Colorado what it is today. These laws determine how the people of Colorado live today.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious walking into the hearing room. I purposefully arrived early to get comfortable and get a better sense of the room. This helped calm my nerves a little before I delivered my testimony.

On this day, I was testifying in favor of HB18-1012: Vision Care Plans For Eye Care Services. It’s not a particularly controversial bill, but it is complex. The more I did my research, I realized that I had been manipulated into a distorted market. What made my testimony, in particular, important was that I got to represent consumers who maybe didn’t have the time to research this bill or couldn’t leave work to testify.

There were a number of bills in committee before mine, so I had the opportunity to listen to other passionate Coloradans testify before me. It was incredibly inspiring to hear others advocate and share their personal stories. So by the time it was my turn to step up to the table, I was still anxious but felt more motivated than ever.

I was ready. My testimony was ready. I had done my research, studied the bill, and practiced keeping the speech within the 3 minute time frame. This was it.

When the delivery of my final testimony was over, I felt this instant rush of relief when it was over. Yes, relief because it was over but most importantly, I knew my legislators were paying attention. A few even took the time to tell me that there was no need to be nervous; they understand the courage it takes to get up there. The most rewarding part of the whole experience, though, was hearing the committee pass the bill with every YES vote. HB18-1012 passed with a 10-3 vote count.

And I was a part of that process.

I’ll end with this,

If you’re even curious about testifying, I say do it. It’s difficult for the majority of us to stand up in front of our state leaders. But this is what makes it all the more important.

Testimony is one of the most direct and impactful ways to get involved in the legislative process to help drive positive policy change. And our legislators need to hear the voices of the people they represent and be held accountable for their votes.

 

 

Interested in testifying or learning how to testify? Email our Community Organizer, Melanie Kesner, at MKesner@healthiercolorado.org to learn more.

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