Illinois Architects Advocate for the Profession on Capitol Hill

A group of individuals in front of Capitol hill

Jen Masengarb, Assoc. AIA, John Benware, AIA, Jeff Jeno, AIA, Laurie Hoffman, AIA, Mindy Viamontes, AIA, Cyrus Rivetna, AIA

This past week, AIA leadership from across Illinois and the country were in Washington, D.C. for AIA Lobby Day as part of the national AIA Leadership Summit to lobby in support of two pieces of bipartisan legislation affecting the architecture profession before members of Congress and Congressional staff:

  1. The Democracy In Design Act would ensure that communities across the country maintain a voice in the design of federal buildings consistent with their preferences, topographies, and design traditions.
  2. The Resilient AMERICA Act would make significant changes to the federal government’s ability to prepare communities for future natural disaster events by:
    • Increasing funding for FEMA’s pre-disaster mitigation grant program (the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities [BRIC] Program)
    • Supporting additional BRIC Programs set aside funding for resilient building code adoption and implementation

AIA Chicago leadership present included AIA national President-Elect Kimberly Dowdell, AIA; host for the event, AIA Chicago President Mindy Viamontes, AIAAIA Chicago President-Elect/First Vice President Lynda Dossey, AIA; AIA At-Large Directors Ryan Gann, AIA, and Korey White, AIA; Practice Management KC leader (national) Cyrus Rivetna, AIA; AIA Chicago Executive Director Jen Masengarb, Assoc. AIA; AIA Chicago Communications Manager, David Cordaro, Assoc. AIA; We were also joined by AIA Chicago members representing AIA Illinois: Jeff Jeno, AIA, and Jeremy Gentile, Assoc. AIA, as well as 2023 President of AIA Northeast Illinois, Laurie Hoffman, AIA; and 2023 President of AIA Eastern Illinois, John Benware, AIA.

The AIA Lobby Day provides architect members with a platform to directly advocate for legislation impacting the profession before Members of Congress and Congressional staff. AIA members are a powerful voice for the values they uphold in their practices every day. As natural facilitators and problem-solvers, architects stand ready to support new policies that create a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable society.

AIA Chicago members interested in making the profession more equitable and sustainable by lobbying their elected officials are encouraged to attend Prairie Grassroots on March 21.

A group of architects from Illinois around U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
A woman holding a sign that reads "I am a citizen architect." in front of the US Capitol.
AIA members from Illinois meeting with staff from Representative Mike Quigley's office.
A group of individuals in front of Capitol hill
Four individuals standing in front of a sign that reads "AIA Leadership Summit"
A group of individuals in front of a sculpture in Washington, DC

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