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Download this event flyer to share with your students or classmates!


2020 Student Lobby Day


Registration is now CLOSED for the 2020 Student Lobby Day Thursday, February 13. Stay tuned for an event update afterward! Thank you to our speakers for taking time to educate social work students about important issues and the how-to of government affairs so they can make their voices heard and advocate effectively for their clients and profession.


Student Lobby Day Registrants: If you are already registered, you should have received an email with details on parking and the schedule. If you have not received this, please contact



Attention Social Work Students –

Join NASWVA for the 2020 Student Lobby Day on Thursday, February 13th from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event will take place in Richmond, at the SunTrust Building, 4th Floor Auditorium, 919 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23219. This event is designed to inform BSW/MSW/PhD students about NASWVA’s advocacy efforts as well as provide insight into timely and relevant issues facing citizens and social workers today. We welcome students from across Virginia to join us!

Tentative Schedule (please note, schedule and speakers are subject to change)

  • 8:15 – 8:45 a.m. – Check in and light breakfast

  • 8:45 – 9:00 a.m. – Welcome

  • 9:00 – 9:30 a.m. – Alexander Macaulay, Partner at Macaulay & Jamerson, NASWVA lobbyist

  • 9:30 – 10:00 a.m. – Sarah Butts, LMSW, Director of Public Policy at NASW

  • 10:00 – 10:30 a.m. – Q & A with Alexander Macaulay and Sarah Butts

  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – General Assembly time

    • Watch floor proceedings, OR

    • Attend a committee meeting, OR

    • Make and appointment with your legislator

  • 12:45 – 1:45 p.m. – Lunch (included with registration)

  • 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. – Our About the Issues session will include a variety of speakers and topics and will include (subject to change):

    • David Smith - Virginia Coalition on Solitary Confinement

      • Speaking on his experience as an inmate and his work to end solitary confinement in Virginia

    • David Poole – Executive Director / Virginia Public Access Project

      • Sharing information about how VPAP connects Virginians to nonpartisan information about Virginia politics in easily understood ways.

    • Lori Haas – Senior Director of Advocacy / Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

      • Speaking on her work with CSGV and the organization’s efforts to draft, pass, and implement evidence-based legislation to make gun violence rare and abnormal

    • Addie Alexander - Virginia Organizing

      • Discussing Immigration issues

    • Kristen Tully - Equality Virginia

      • Covering LGBT priorities for the legislative session - specifically conversion therapy and how it relates to behavioral health professionals and the clients they serve

To Attend…

  • Register here

  • Cost is $30 (includes all sessions, breakfast, and lunch)

    • Breakfast includes yogurt, granola, fruit, and sweet and savory breakfast breads

    • Lunch includes sandwich, chips, whole fruit, and a cookie

    • Requests for dietary restrictions can be made during registration process

  • Parking is available in nearby garages for a fee. Please note, we will send you specific parking information closer to the event in your final reminder email.

About Our Speakers

Lobby Day Speakers
Lobby Day Schedule
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Addie Alexander, Grassroots Organizer, Virginia Organizing

Addie Alexander grew up in Charlottesville and got involved in Virginia Organizing as a summer intern while a student at College of William and Mary and as a Williamsburg Chapter member. After graduation, she taught at the Universidad del Atlantico in Colombia on a Fulbright grant for a year. In 2013, Addie became a Virginia Organizing grassroots organizer for four years in Fredericksburg, focusing on the chapter’s successful campaigns on school-to-prison pipeline, restoration of rights, and health care. She then organized for tenant’s rights in New York City before returning to Virginia last year to work for Virginia Organizing in Richmond. Her passion is “seeing an idea emerge from people’s real-life experiences and then working with those same people to develop that idea and grow into a powerful force for change.”

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Sarah Butts, LMSW, Director of Public Policy, NASW

Butts is the Director of Public Policy for NASW and represents the interests of over 700,000 social workers nationwide in NASW’s 55 chapters. She is responsible for leading the association’s public policy, political and legislative affairs agenda; overseeing field organizing, working at both the national level and with NASW chapters; political candidates’ fundraising and endorsement efforts; and developing and advancing the association’s strategic goals and objectives related to influencing the legislative and executive branches of government. Prior to joining NASW, Butts served as the first Executive Director of the Grand Challenges for Social Work, a national initiative, whereby twelve science-supported challenges were advanced to tackle society’s toughest social problems. In addition, she has serv ed as an assistant to the dean at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, held roles in state and local government, and held positions with Maryland’s Department of Human Services, Social Services Administration, and the Family League of Baltimore.

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Lori Haas, ​Senior Director of Advocacy, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence


Lori has worked for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) since November 2009 and plays a crucial role in the Commonwealth of Virginia advancing policy, legislation, community and grass roots efforts to reduce gun violence. After the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, during which her daughter was shot twice and survived, Lori became personally involved in gun violence prevention efforts and is the voice of GVP in Virginia. She regularly works with the Virginia Congressional delegation in Washington and lobbies extensively at the Virginia General Assembly. Lori is the leader of the GVP movement in Virginia working with a wide array of constituencies to advance policies and programs to reduce gun violence.   Additionally, she promotes awareness of the issue by speaking publicly and to groups about her family’s experiences with gun violence. 

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Alexander Macaulay, Partner, Macaulay & Jamerson

Macaulay & Jamerson is a boutique law firm with a nationally recognized government relations and health care practice. The firm’s client list includes Fortune 100 companies, national trade associations, and leading nonprofit organizations. In 1998, the partners began lobbying for health care providers at the Virginia General Assembly. The firm’s health care practice grew out of those relationships, and expertise has deepened with each referral from our long-standing clients. Macaulay graduated from Wesleyan University and the University of Virginia Law School. His practice is focused on health care law and government relations. He has served as NASWVA’s lobbyist for a number of years.

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David Poole, Founder & Executive Director, Virginia Public Access project

The nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project connects Virginians to nonpartisan information about Virginia politics in easily understood ways. VPAP was founded by David Poole in 1997 on one simple premise: Because Virginia's ethics laws rely on disclosure, it is imperative that citizens have easy access to public documents related to money in politics. VPAP is fiercely nonpartisan...its singular focus is to give Virginians the information they need to make informed decisions. VPAP's approach is grounded in facts taken directly from public documents such as campaign finance reports, election returns, conflicts disclosures and lobbyist registrations. VPAP breaks down the silos of government data and weaves in other information such as newspaper articles. This integrated approach provides the public with unique and valuable insights on politicians and issues that impact their families and communities. David Poole is a Florida native and graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. He worked as a newspaper reporter from 1983 to 1997. His last assignment was state capital correspondent for The Roanoke Times and Virginian-Pilot. 


David Smith, Virginia Coalition on Solitary Confinement

David Smith spent sixteen and a half months in solitary confinement. Today, he is an activist that works with others to end the practice of solitary confinement in Virginia and other states. The Virginia Coalition on Solitary Confinement is made up of individuals and organizations working to reduce and eliminate the use of solitary confinement in Virginia’s prisons and jails through legislative and administrative policy changes. Organizations represented in the group include Interfaith Action for Human Rights, ACLU of Virginia, NAMI-VA, SALT (Social Action Linking Together), VACURE, Virginia Council of Churches, Virginia Catholic Conference, Amnesty International of Northern Virginia, and Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement.

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Rhonda Thissen, Senior Disability Rights Advocate, disAbility Law Center of Virginia


Rhonda Thissen is a Senior Disability Rights Advocate at the disAbility Law Center of Virginia, a not-for-profit organization that protects and advocates for the rights of Virginians with disabilities. Ms. Thissen earned a Master’s degree in Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University, and in her role as a social work policy practitioner, has worked for both public agencies and not-for-profit organizations on a wide range of issues, including promoting access to primary medical and behavioral health care, improving economic opportunities in underserved communities, developing and coordinating affordable housing and homeless services, domestic violence intervention, and HIV/AIDS care. She is also an adjunct professor of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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Kristen Tully, Equality Virginia 

Kristen (she/her) is a student at VCU completing her Masters of Social work and subsequent Nonprofit Management Certificate. She is a fierce advocate for mental health, eating disorders, and LGBT issues. Currently she is involved in advocating for prohibiting conversion therapy for minors at the hands of licensed health care professionals in her work with Equality Virginia.

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