Bill Moyers tells the story of how when he and Shriver went to talk to Vice President about getting the Peace Corps approved by Congress, LBJ took Moyers aside and told him, “don’t sell the Peace Corps, sell Shriver.”
And that’s what Moyers did.
Late in the afternoon—after a full day at the Peace Corps Headquarters in the Maiatico Building across from the White House and Lafayette Square –Shriver and Moyers would go downtown and “walk the halls of Congress” peering into open doorways to see who was still working and seek out Congressman and Senators as if they were two Girl Scout girls selling cookies. They’d introduce themselves and talk about the Peace Corps. Or Shriver would talk about what PCVs would do in the Third World and Moyers would “sell” Shriver and what this man could do with this new government diplomacy.
Well, as we know, it worked.
For the last four year—her entire time as Director–Carrie Hessler- Radelet has been selling the Peace Corps on the Hill and across the country. She did something like 21 district events with Members, 15 of whom were key
Republicans, and attended several congressional delegations to the field review Peace Corps work on the ground. That effort, and NPCA’s amazing advocacy work—much of it being done by JM Ascienzo (Thailand 2012-15), plus all the letters from RPCVs around the US, has built a strong constituency for Peace Corps on the Hill.
It is the kind of “walking the halls of Congress” Sarge would have loved.