While Second Committee came to a close Monday evening, a proposal driven by one delegate’s life story made a lasting impact that many delegates will carry with them long after they have left The Mountain. Missouri delegate Elaine Badr has changed Committee X, and in turn, the delegates of her committee changed her as well.

Elaine’s Proposal 518 seeks to turn vacant federal buildings into havens for homeless people where they could live and cite the residence as an address in order to open the door to jobs and a better life.

“We have $1.7 billion of taxpayer money going into these vacant buildings, which is unacceptable,” Elaine explained. “So what I am trying to do is get these vacant buildings, which are up to code, and allow the homeless to move in so they can have an address.”

Elaine’s proposal stems from her past and her own family’s struggle. Her mother left her father when they were very young, and dropped everything to move from California to Saint Louis, MO, in hopes of finding a better life for them; her family’s move did not come without hardship. Elaine found herself in the shoes of other people struggling to put a roof over their heads. “We could have been homeless. We could have just been moving from shelter to shelter,” Elaine said.

“This proposal touches home with me. I just want to make sure that people who have dealt with issues like [homelessness] get the chance they deserve, because I got the chance and not many people do.”

Elaine Badr on her personal story

Shortly after Committees X and W combined to create a Second Committee, Elaine felt sick and returned to her room to rest. Despite falling ill during Second Committee, she returned to present her proposal at the encouragement of her peers, determined not to let her proposal and story die. Through tears and sickness, she delivered her proposal, touching many hearts in the committee and moving other delegates to tears. When she finished, the room erupted in applause, standing to thank her and cheer her on.

Delegate Hersh Pareek of Wisconsin was one of the delegates present at the event and was deeply moved by her speech. “We could all really relate to her kind of story,” Hersh stated. “It is very touching and really hits home.” The way the whole committee came together truly struck him, and he claimed it was the “best experience he has had in a committee.”

“She just made it seem so emotional and real to everybody. I’ve had the honor to have her in all three committees,” delegate Mallory Williams of Oklahoma stated. “She made my first year here really amazing.”

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A group from Committee X gathers for a group photo. “I couldn’t ask for a better family,” said Elaine Badr

While the delegates were moved by Elaine’s story, she was truly impacted by the love and support they showed her. While her proposal did not move onto Third Committee, Elaine said, “I am just so appreciative that I had [my First Committee] there to inspire me to be the best person I could be.”

By Erin Gretzinger, WI

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