Policy Focus

PAN advocates from across the country met with their Members of Congress during the August recess.  Roger Halleen, PAN Illinois Congressional Coordinator, shared his experience attending a town hall.  Roger helped spread the word about a few of the Parkinson’s community’s main priorities and also started building a relationship with his Member of Congress. 

PAN Coordinator Roger Halleen

“On Saturday, August 21, I attended a town hall meeting with Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL).  The turn out was far larger than I expected and the meeting lasted well over the hour that it was scheduled.  I was able ask Representative Schock about supporting the Department of Defense Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Parkinson’s Research (NETPR) program, to thank him for signing on as a cosponsor of the National MS and Parkinson’s Disease Registries Act, and for joining the Bicameral Congressional Caucus on Parkinson’s Disease during the public portion of the program.

Rep. Schock gave a non-committal answer to supporting the NETPR program at that time, but I was able to meet with him after the program.  He gave me the name of the person in his Washington, DC office who works on health issues and said I should talk to him.  I will be following up with his staff person to make sure we have his support for NETPR in the future.”

Didn’t get a chance to visit with your Members of Congress this Congressional recess?  Don’t worry—you will have plenty of opportunities to take action this fall!  Members of Congress returned to Washington, DC last Tuesday, and we anticipate September will be a busy legislative month for Congress.  Congress returned to a long to-do list before heading out to the campaign trail for re-election in November.  Get ready for possible action on stem cell legislation; H.R. 1362/S. 1273, legislation to create a national data system for neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s and MS; and funding for NETRP and the Cures Acceleration Network at that National Institutes of Health.

Look for updates and calls-to-action via e-mail in the coming weeks.