Raising Voices for DECA: Legislative Advocacy

Feb 14, 2024

Contributed by Sidhya Ganesh | Interlake High School DECA, WA

Washington DECA state officers kicked off CTE Month with our annual Legislative Advocacy Day to spread the word about the importance of DECA. We visited Washington’s state capitol in Olympia to advocate for DECA alongside state officers from seven other CTSOs around Washington. Each state officer was given the opportunity to schedule meetings with legislators and senators to have conversations with them about DECA and their continued support of Career and Technical Education.

Throughout this process, we focused on building a relationship with the official rather than speaking about DECA in general. We all shared personal DECA stories and the individual paths we took in becoming involved in this organization. Often, with an assortment of acronyms and letters such as CTSO, CTE and DECA, the general public can get lost in the message. Through advocacy, we helped ensure legislators and senators were well-informed of CTSOs and how they shape students’ lives around our state and the globe. Securing funding and support for DECA is an ongoing, never-ending process, but Washington DECA is committed to working on behalf of our members to do so.

In addition to advocating for general CTSO funding, we also received the incredible opportunity to demonstrate and verbalize our support for House Bill 1915, which aims to mandate financial education curriculum and graduation credit for K-12 students in Washington. Meeting with John McKenney, Financial Education Coordinator for Washington State’s Treasurer, and discussing different perspectives on HB 1915 was both informative and empowering, as finance and financial well-being is a huge component of DECA competition, and in a bigger picture, helping to minimize the poverty cycle for thousands of students across our state.

Throughout the day, we interacted with more than ten legislators and senators, opening our eyes to advocacy’s power and uniting our voices to make an impact. Some of the senators and representatives we met include Paul Harris, Greg Nance, Lisa Wellman and My-Linh Thai. We thoroughly enjoyed interacting with them during one-on-one meetings and a grand CTSO Networking Luncheon. All legislators and senators were invited to attend and speak with CTSO officers.

According to Washington DECA state president William Chang, “Advocating to legislators about the importance of CTE and CTSOs is a rare opportunity to talk directly to the people responsible for the budget allocation for organizations like DECA. Their financial support helps low-income members afford membership, helps lower the cost of traveling to conferences and creates more opportunities and an even greater experience for members.”

This #CTEmonth, Washington DECA encourages you to reconnect with YOUR DECA story and seek avenues to share this organization’s positive impact on you and your future. Participating in DECA Inc.’s Advocacy Challenge is an incredible place to start. Happy advocating!


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