2014 Legislative Boot Camp takes court reporters from Connecticut to Capitol Hill
VIENNA, Va., March 11, 2014— Tracy Gow and Christine Mannix, members of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, broadcast captioners and CART providers, recently met with the legislative staff of Sens. Chris Murphy (D) and Richard Blumenthal (D), along with the legislative staff of Democratic Reps. Elizabeth Esty, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, and John Larson, to urge them to support the Local Courthouse Safety Act. The visit culminated a three-day Legislative Boot Camp program hosted by NCRA, March 2 to March 4, designed to provide advocacy training for the stenographic court reporting profession. Gow and Mannix were part of a contingency of 44 NCRA state affiliate association leaders and its national board of directors, representing 26 states, as well as Canada, visiting Capitol Hill.
The Legislative Boot Camp program, developed by NCRA’s Government Relations Department, included a wide array of sessions that covered grassroots efforts, effective lobbying, communicating with Congressional staff, networking tips and public relations, and provided attendees with a vast cache of skills and tools they can utilize to advocate on important issues for court reporters at the national, state and local levels.
“I don’t think we could or would have had such successful visits with our Senators and Congressional representatives if we hadn’t spent two days in boot camp prior to our meetings,” said Gow.
“The training was worth every penny and every minute of the rigorous two-day session. It provided us with the strategies and tactics needed to ensure that our message about the importance of courthouse safety was presented clearly and concisely to them,” added Mannix.
Gow and Mannix also serve as the President and Vice President, respectively, of the Connecticut Court Reporters Association (CCRA). In addition, Mannix also sits on the state’s board of Examiners of Licensed Shorthand Reporters, which oversees all aspects of the statutorily mandated licensure requirements of the approximately 300 freelance court reporters working in Connecticut.
“It is important for members of any profession to understand the legislative and regulatory process at the local, state, and national levels to ensure their interests remain protected when it comes to doing good business. The court reporting and captioning profession is no exception.” said NCRA President Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, a court reporter and owner of The Varallo Group in Worcester, Mass.
“NCRA’s Legislative Boot Camp is a vital program the association provides to members to help ensure they have the right tools, skills and knowledge to address lawmakers with the highest level of effectiveness possible to safeguard against measures that could be detrimental to their businesses and to their jobs. This training also brings to members confidence in addressing laws and regulations that benefit this time-honored profession and the services court reporters and captioners provide to the community as a whole,” she added.
The Local Courthouse Safety Act, S. 445, is bipartisan legislation intended to offer U.S. courthouses some additional assistance to increase public safety. Specifically, the proposed bill would allow courthouses to receive security equipment that is no longer being used from other federal agencies and allocate existing federal funding for courthouse security equipment and safety training for court security guards. Last session, the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a voice vote but was held up in the Senate. At the beginning of a new Congressional session in January, NCRA’s Government Relations team was successful in getting the bill reintroduced in the Senate.
“It is important to NCRA that members of the court reporting profession work in the safest environment possible, and we are committed to doing everything we can to help ensure that scenario is a reality. The passage of the Local Courthouse Safety Act would provide great benefit not only to our members, but to other judicial employees and the public at large, in terms of safety,” said Jim Cudahy, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NCRA.
Gow has been a freelance court reporter for 17 years, and has been an active member of both the CCRA and NCRA for 21 years. In addition to her Connecticut Licensed Shorthand Reporter (LSR) designation, she has also earned the nationally recognized credential of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). She owns Gow Reporting Service and resides in Waterbury, Conn.
Mannix has been a freelance court reporter for 23 years and has also earned the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) credential. She is owner/partner in the court reporting firm of Mannix & Mancini and resides in Naugatuck, Conn.
For more information, visit NCRA.org. Career information about the court reporting profession—one of the leading career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree—can be found at CareersInCourtReporting.com. For information about captioning, visit www.CaptioningMatters.com. For more information about the CCRA, visit ctreporters.org.
The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) is internationally recognized for promoting excellence among those who capture and convert the spoken word to text for more than 100 years. NCRA is committed to supporting its more than 18,000 members in achieving the highest level of professional expertise with educational opportunities and industry-recognized court reporting, educator and videographer certification programs. NCRA impacts legislative issues and the global marketplace through its actively involved membership. Forbes has named court reporting as one of the best career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the court reporting field is expected to grow by 14 percent through the year 2020. For more information, visit www.NCRA.org.