2013 Advocacy Update from Pam Fields, Arthritis Foundation Region Director Advocacy and Public Policy
The 2013 Advocacy Summit will always be remembered for the Snowquester, the name the weather reporters dubbed the major storm system that raged “around” Washington, DC. Normally, attendees visit the Senate members on Tuesday afternoon and the House representatives on Wednesday. In anticipation of the storm, the Federal Government closed on Wednesday and our buses were not permitted to operate.
A few House offices remained open and some hardy advocates took the Metro to get to their meetings. Everyone else called the House offices and left messages or had phone meetings. The exciting news is that the Great Lakes Region had many of its House visits scheduled on Tuesday, so we didn’t lose too many opportunities. The results of the trips to the Hill will be revealed in the next few weeks.
Click Here to View Photos from the 2013 Advocacy Summit
There are a few highlights to share now and hopefully more in the future as the ambassadors and attendees report in:
- There were 36 representatives from the Great Lakes Region at the Advocacy Summit actively carrying the Arthritis Foundation’s message to the Hill
- Pat McMahon (Ohio River Valley) participated the Rheumatoid Arthritis Alliance meeting and stayed for the Summit
- Carol Arbaczewski (Northeastern Ohio) attended the Public policy and Advocacy meeting
- Pete Barnhart (Central Ohio), Janalee Taylor(Ohio River Valley) and Chris Smith were in town for the National Board meeting and actively participated in the Summit
- Monday evening trainings were required this year and groups were divided into New, Intermediate and Experienced Advocates where each group received appropriate training
- Tuesday, the tools to enable advocates to communicate the three arthritis priorities for this Summit to their legislators
- In the afternoon, states split up and visited their Senator’s offices on the Hill. Some even saw the members in person. A few also had some Representative meetings scheduled
- Face to face meetings with several Senators and members of the House of Representatives
- A photo of the KY advocates showed up in Senator McConnell’s Newsletter
- A group attended coffee with Senator Brown(OH) at his Thursday Morning Coffee at the Capitol
- Senator Brown agreed to do a short video for the OH Walks
- Senator Brown had an entire newsletter, since the Summit, dedicated to access to medications
- Senator John Conyers co-signed the Patient Access to Treatments Act the day after a meeting with a Michigan Ambassador, Joy Suddath
- Other office visits with legislative aides generated questions and attendees follow up with further information and thanks you notes already
- Some attendees have already scheduled home visits with those Representatives they missed on Wednesday.
- Most of the new attendees have become Ambassadors.
Thank you to everyone who attended the Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit. You have truly made a difference in the lives of those living with this disease.