When I first started my career at ACA, I was in what was then called “Government Relations.” I mainly worked on issues at the federal level and then provided grassroots training for those who wanted to interact with their elected officials.
In the mid-80s, a handful of states had enacted counselor licensure, but I knew it would be awhile before we would be able to say that all 50 states and the District of Columbia had licensed professional counselors. Admittedly, I probably didn’t know it would take quite this long or that it would take this much money, staff time and such an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers to make this goal a reality.
Good things do come to those who wait, however, and our long, arduous, 30-plus-year wait is now over. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico officially license professional counselors. With passage of the counselor licensure bill in California, along with the governor’s signing of the bill, we now have a law in the Golden State! I want to personally express my congratulations to our members in California and those who constitute the California Coalition for Counselor Licensure for their hard work and determination, their ability to navigate the political system and their knowledge of how to work with our sister professions.
The effort in California was led admirably for the past 12 years by Dean Porter. She made this a labor of love and persevered when others questioned the value of such an effort. You can read more about the California counselor licensure law in this issue, but I just wanted to make sure that everyone knew how excited and appreciative I am for such Herculean efforts!
And speaking of voting, in case you miss the excitement of last year’s U.S. presidential election, you can still “go to the polls” this month as an ACA member. All individuals who were members of ACA as of Oct. 31, are eligible to cast a ballot. In addition to ACA president-elect, there are a number of regional and division slots that have competitive races. I hope you will exercise your right to vote for the candidates you think will do the best job. In this issue of Counseling Today, you can read the ACA president-elect candidates’ responses to questions posed by the ACA Nominations and Elections Committee. The candidates’ responses are thoughtful and show a deep interest in the profession. Read them, and you will obtain a sense of each candidate’s vision.
This may not be a race for the White House, but the role of ACA leadership really does have an impact on the profession and those whom our members serve. ACA has been making very positive moves in regard to meeting the needs of counseling professionals. We pride ourselves on continuing to work toward a solid financial base and delivering products, services and information to members via various communication formats. Those whom you elect will be key to our ongoing success, so please take the time to read about the candidates and then cast your ballot for the person you think will move us forward.
Last, but not least, I also want to give a “shout out” to those already serving in leadership roles at ACA. Your president, Lynn Linde, and the rest of the Governing Council met in November and tackled an incredible agenda that included the association’s new strategic plan. This will serve as a map that the staff and I use as we determine products and services and build our budget. It is an exciting time for our association, and I appreciate your support and your commitment to being a member.
I hope you will contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have. Please contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.
Thanks and be well.