Throughout the month of June, PAN staff have visited the Capitol Hill offices of many of the new members of the 113th Congress that took office in January, educating Members and staff about the Parkinson’s community. These introductory meetings are a great opportunity for PAN to talk about the importance of biomedical research, innovations in health care, and funding for key programs. They are also invaluable to raising Parkinson’s awareness with newly elected officials.
These “freshmen” Members represent the next generation of Congressional leadership, and many are eager to learn more about the priorities of their constituents. It is so important to establish connections early – at time when Members are crafting their agendas and discovering new issues of interest.
PAN advocates encourage more Congressional leadership on Parkinson’s
As critical as it is for PAN staff to build these relationships, it is also equally as important that you interact with your Member of Congress throughout the year. One great opportunity to get to know your Member is to schedule a meeting or invite them to an event in the district when they return home from Washington, D.C. for summer recess. The personal stories and experiences of our PAN advocates make a profound difference in how lawmakers learn more and engage on issues important to our community.
Just this year, the advocacy work of PAN California Assistant State Directors Aurora Soriano and Joan Mendonsa in California’s 26th congressional district encouraged freshman Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA) to join the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson’s Disease. Aurora and Joan were joined by local Parkinson’s support group members at two of the Congresswoman’s district open houses and discovered that Rep. Brownley had a personal connection to Parkinson’s via a number of friends who have battled the disease. Aurora said that “volunteering for PAN has been a tremendously rewarding experience,” and she and Joan continue to follow up with the Congresswoman’s office and engage with her staff in the district.
Take Action: Urge Your Members of Congress to join the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson’s Disease
The bipartisan Caucus, which was created as a way for lawmakers to come together around Parkinson’s issues and stay informed on the latest developments in Parkinson’s-related legislation and biomedical research, now has over 170 members combined from both chambers. PAN is working to further strengthen this group of lawmakers, both in terms of numbers and in reach, and we need your help.
Take action today, and encourage your Members of Congress to join the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson’s Disease. Learn more .
Date originally posted: June 28, 2013