Citygate Network’s 2019 DC Forum will be held March 11–13, beginning with dinner on Monday, the 11th, and officially concluding after Capitol Hill appointments end on Wednesday, the 13th. A detailed schedule follows. Note that some meeting locations may change, depending on availability and group size.

If you are flying to Washington, D.C., try to make Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) your destination, as it is relatively close to the government offices where we will be spending most of our time. While Dulles International Airport (IAD) is significantly larger, it is approximately 30 miles from Capitol Hill, and can take a long time to travel from or to during “rush hour.” Also, we do NOT recommend renting a car for this event. Parking is hard to find and extremely expensive in the areas where we will be staying and working. Taxis, Uber, and Lyft options are abundant. Plus, our hotels are within comfortable walking distance from Capitol Hill.

Monday, March 11

5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Hyatt Place DC–National Mall 400 E St. SW, Washington, DC 20024
Hotel Registration is on the 3rd Floor. Citygate Network check-in is on the 2nd Floor, outside Meeting Place 4 & 5. 
Lisa Miller

6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
Hyatt Place DC–National Mall
Meeting Place 4 & 5 (2nd Floor)
Connect with other Citygate Network members and start to engage informally on the issues most important to you. Dinner will be served promptly at 6:05 p.m.

7:00 p.m. – 7:10 p.m.
A Spiritual Perspective on Engaging Government
Hyatt Place DC–National Mall
Meeting Place 4 & 5 (2nd Floor)
Explore for a few minutes how, in this world, we are to approach those in authority over us.
Brian Merriam, President, Merriam Insurance Agency

7:10 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Session I: Is Incivility the New Norm in the United States?
Hyatt Place DC–National Mall
Meeting Place 4 & 5 (2nd Floor)
Politeness and civil discourse seem to be vestiges of the past in our divided country. Moreover, our population’s desire to keep pulling on the rips in our culture are stronger than the desire to mend them. The political arena is where the fight is playing out most fiercely. A faction of the Democrat party is drifting toward ideology that our entire country vehemently rejected not all that long ago. The RINOs in the Republican party keep everyone guessing. All of this is exacerbated by the news media that profits from keeping people angry. We’ll examine where all of this is probably heading, what we will likely have to endure throughout the journey, and how to make a difference in our own little world.
John Ashmen, President, Citygate Network
Rhett Butler, Director of Foundation Relations, Mercatus Center, George Mason University

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m
Capitol Hill Orientation Walking Tour (optional)
We’ll walk three blocks to Independence Avenue then two more blocks and onto the Capitol grounds, near the Reflecting Pool. We’ll follow Southwest Drive and Southeast Drive past the House offices, and then take First Avenue past the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. Our return route will take us back to the National Mall and then down 4th Street, back to the hotels. This will be a great (re)orientation and time of fellowship—and a nice time to stretch your legs after a possibly long plane ride. If you’re not familiar with D.C. it’s worth braving whatever the elements might be.
John Ashmen

Tuesday, March 12

Breakfast is on your own. NOTE: The Hyatt Place accommodations include breakfast. The buffet line opens at 6:30 a.m. There are also several breakfast options east of the Hyatt Place on E Street, and around the corner to the north on 3rd.

Tuesday’s program schedule will start early because we have a very special opportunity: a visit to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Chamber. NOTE: A suit and tie is considered proper attire for men; business attire for women is required.

7:45 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
Gathering and Staging
Meet at the southeast corner of the U.S. Capitol Building. This is opposite an area known as the House Triangle. Use comfort facilities before arriving and dress weather-appropriate as the wait may be up to 15 minutes. There is no overhead shelter in this location. NOTE: Please bring a currently valid government-issued photo I.D. Do not bring laptops or other materials.

8:00 a.m.
Entrance to the House Chamber
We will go through a security check-point and then take elevators to the Chamber level. If you are not with our group by the time we pass through the security screening, you will need to meet us at the Museum of the Bible at 9:45 a.m. NOTE: No recording devices of any kind are permitted on the House floor. This includes cell phones. If you bring a cell phone, you will be required to place it on a table outside the doors (in an area not accessible to the general public) before you will be allowed to enter.

8:30 a.m. – 8:55 a.m.
Session II: It All Starts Here
Our host will be the Representative from Colorado's 5th congressional district, the honorable Douglas Lamborn. Congressman Lamborn has been in office since 2007. He is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Natural Resources, and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Congressman Lamborn will talk about House procedures and operations, and take questions from our group. We will likely be sitting in the areas occupied by the Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet Members, and Senators during State of the Union addresses.
Douglas Lamborn, U.S. Congressman

8:55 a.m.
Exit from the House Chamber
We will retrace our steps and quickly exit the Capitol building and head to our meeting venue at the Museum of the Bible. You should have plenty of time to go back to the Hyatt and get your laptops and other materials.

NOTE: The rest of the day’s meetings will be held in the Scholar’s Initiative Conference Room, found on the 5th floor (behind the elevators) of the Museum of the Bible, located at 400 4th St. SW in Washington. That’s only one block from the Hyatt Place Washington DC–National Mall, our event hotel.

Drinks and snacks will be available upon entry to the room. For our first session, please try to arrive by 9:40 a.m., at the latest, in order to get what you need and get situated so we can start promptly at 9:45 a.m.

9:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Overview for the Day and Group Prayer
Hear about the rest of the day’s full agenda and be led in a timely devotional and prayer by several of our leaders.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Session III: Is FFA the Way to Go?
The impending Equality Act will likely be the ultimate showdown between religious rights and human rights advocates. The bill, as originally intended, will make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes, trumping religious liberty. Fairness for All (FFA) is a compromise that could give the LGBTQ community basic freedoms (in housing, employment, etc.) but also preserve significant religious freedom. However, it is not without its objectors on both sides of the aisle. Learn how this bill is being/has been crafted and how it could affect accommodation-based Christian ministries.
Shirley Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities

10:30 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.
Session IV: What Personnel Changes at HUD Mean for Housing First
The recent departure of key staff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development could signal some policy changes and new approaches to dealing with homelessness—some that would give more credence to faith-based organizations doing life-transformation ministry. Discover what’s in the works and what opportunities it could present for you.
Richard Youngblood, Director, Housing and Urban Development Faith and Opportunity Initiatives
Julia Haller, Senior Policy Advisor, Housing and Urban Development

11:10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Session V: Restoring Dignity to Homeless Veterans
Despite all-out efforts to end veteran homelessness over the past decade, they are still abundantly present in so many American cities. In this session, our speaker, who is a military special ops veteran, will talk about the best ways that your organization can minister to these former heroes, as well as work with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide the life transformation they need.
Jason Beardsley, Special Operations Advisor, Concerned Veterans for America

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Session VI: Insights from the House Minority Leader
Congressman McCarthy is the highest-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents California’s 23rd Congressional District. He is a friend of Citygate Network through the Mission of Kern County in Bakersfield, California, where his wife serves on the board of directors. He will address our group and take questions.
Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Congressman

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Lunch Break
Lunch boxes and beverages will be available in the Scholar’s Initiative Conference Room. We will eat at our comfortable fixed classroom tables. Depending on the flow of our schedule, this may be a “working lunch.” If so, plenty of time will be given following for personal needs and phone calls.

1:15 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.
Session VII: Giving Children and Youth the Attention They Deserve
The Department of Education data shows that there are more homeless kids than HUD reports in its entire PIT count. It’s a confirmed fact that numerous vulnerable children and youth are homeless and temporarily staying with friends, living in vehicles, or living on the streets in not-so-obvious places. Being out of the loop, they miss out on access to critical services. The Homeless Children and Youth Act will attempt to get all departments of the government working with the same numbers, and it will open up services to all who need it. Learn what this act, as it is being revised, can mean for your organization.
Barbara Duffield, Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection

1:50 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Session VIII: Tweaking the Tax Codes for 2019 and Beyond
The tax reform bill, as it was passed, sidestepped some of the long-standing charitable contribution incentive. Both the Senate and the House considered amendments to protect it, but no modifications made it into the final bill. The 2018 year-end giving statistics now show that projections made about charitable giving without the incentives (as they were previously applied) have actually come to pass. We will talk about plans to reintroduce the “universal deduction” into the tax codes, and why and how you need to communicate this to your lawmakers.
Brian Walsh, President, Civil Rights Research Center

2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Session IX: Combatting Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Sex Trafficking
In this session, we will discuss the important work of the Office on Violence Against Women to reduce violent crime and protect victims. We will gain insights into the essential role of local communities and service providers in national efforts to end violence against women. You will also hear about the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and where it now stands, and you will be invited to share your input about the issues facing victims in your communities.
Allison Randall, Chief of Staff, Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women

3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Snack Break

3:15 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.
Session X: The ADF’s Position on Current SOGI Legislation
Since 1994, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has been advocating for the rights of individuals and organizations to live out their faith in the society and the workplace. With more than 3,300 allied attorneys, they are on the frontlines of the battle for religious liberty, winning nearly 80 percent of their cases and playing a role in 54 victories in the U.S. Supreme Court. Currently, several missions and like ministries are engaged in legal battles and are being represented by ADF. Hear what one of their leading attorneys has to say about current SOGI legislation and what faith-based organizations respectfully need to do at this time.
Greg Baylor, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

3:55 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Session XI: Q & A on Current Nonprofit Issues
This will be your “open line” session to ask questions about any of the subjects that came up in the preceding days. Citygate Network’s long-time attorney, an expert in nonprofit law, will field questions on the subjects discussed throughout the day, plus any questions you have for which you need immediate answers. This session will also prepare you for meeting your lawmakers on Wednesday.
Jonathan Ruybalid, Of Counsel Attorney, Gammon & Grange, P.C.

4:30 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.
Session XII: How to Meet (and Make an Impression on) Your Lawmakers
This session is a must for anyone who hasn’t before met with their Senators and Representatives (and their staff) in Washington. You’ll get the “dos” and “don’ts” for greeting, engagement, and departure. We’ll also go over talking points on the most pressing issues you’ll want to talk about. We’ll end with prayer and a blessing from another one of our leaders.
John Ashmen, President, Citygate Network

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Dinner at Kirwan’s on the Wharf
Your program fee includes a full dinner at this extremely popular Irish restaurant in D.C.’s brand-new waterfront development, not all that far from the Jefferson Memorial. It’s less than a mile from the Hyatt Place. If you don’t want to walk (after a day of sitting), hail a cab or arrange a ride from Uber or Lyft. Known as your “Irish home away from Home,” the menu includes fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, pan-fried trout, sirloin steak, and chicken pot pie. For those with energy left over, Union Stage, a music venue just underneath Kirwan’s, has an acoustic open mic night, starting at 7:30 p.m. Some pretty good acts are expected.

Kirwan’s on the Wharf
749 Wharf Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024

Wednesday, March 13

Breakfast is on your own. NOTE: The Hyatt Place accommodations include breakfast. The buffet line opens at 6:30 a.m. There are also several breakfast options east of the Hyatt Place on E Street, and around the corner to the north on 3rd.

8:35 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Capitol Hill Meetings

This day is filled with pre-arranged appointments (which Citygate Network has arranged for you or you have arranged for yourself). You’ll meet with lawmakers and/or their staff in Senate and House office buildings. In most cases, you will meet with staff members (e.g., legislative directors, legislative assistants, etc.) who have the job of clearly articulating both your thanks and concerns to the elected representative for whom they work. If Citygate Network handled this for you, your schedule was arranged after you registered and should have been provided to you upon arrival at the DC Forum. If you don’t have it, see Lisa Miller.

Proceed directly to the location of your first meeting. Citygate Network staff will be available to assist you and accompany you as requested throughout the day. When not in meetings, Citygate Network staff will “camp out” in the Longworth Cafeteria on the House side and the Dirksen Cafeteria on the Senate side.

When your appointments are done, you are free to leave…or hang around in Washington and enjoy the sights and sounds of this always-buzzing city. We encourage you to connect with others in our group and get together for dinner, if you have the time.

Text or email the outcomes of your Capitol Hill meetings to the Citygate Network staff. Contact info will be given at the event.