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In July, ACYPL, in partnership with the Australian Political Exchange Council, welcomed a 7-member delegation from Australia. Visiting Washington, DC, Wisconsin, and Southern California, the delegation represented a balance of parliamentary staffers and party leaders, and included a candidate for federal office. The group was comprised of four political parties, hailing from Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney.
The program began in Washington, DC, where the delegation was briefed on the state of US-Australian relations from both the US State Department and the Embassy of Australia. A highlight of the DC portion of the program was a visit to the US Capitol Building, where the group was able to tour the famous Speaker’s Balcony and sat down with Representative Tom Cole from Oklahoma, the Deputy Majority Whip and an ACYPL alumnus. The delegation also received an extensive briefing on the current national political landscape from the former head of the Democratic National Committee, Tom McMahon.
In Wisconsin, ACYPL alumni and bi-partisan duo Representative Tyler August, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senator Chris Larson hosted the delegation. The visit began with a trip to Madison, where the group met with both the Democratic and Republican state parties and discussed strategies going into the 2018 midterm elections, the increased role of women in politics, and other issues important to the voters of Wisconsin. The group continued onto Milwaukee, where they met with the United Steelworkers union and the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce, and had a roundtable discussion about education policy with several advocacy organizations and representatives from the public school system.
During the last leg of the exchange, the delegation traveled to Los Angeles, California. While in LA, the group was hosted by the City Clerk of Glendale, Ardy Kassakhian. Ardy arranged a diverse array of meetings and activities for the delegation that included a visit to the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and a dinner with the former US ambassador to Australia, Jeff Bleich. Other highlights included a visit to LA2028 – the Los Angeles Olympic Committee – where the discussion covered the innovative concepts the city is adopting to ensure the Olympic Games have a positive impact on the city and a lecture in local governance from a city councilmember and Professor of Practice of Governance at the University of Southern California Price School.
Despite a busy schedule of meetings, the delegation had time to enjoy a variety of cultural experiences. In DC, the group was able to visit the DC monuments and Smithsonian museums. In Wisconsin, the delegates attended a major league baseball game and took a historic Milwaukee boat tour. In Los Angeles, the delegation was given a VIP tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where they visited the mission control room and observed the construction of a Mars rover.