August Update on Advocacy

By Chelsey Fix

Advocacy at Home, Current Cosponsors, and State of the States

August heat is baking creativity here at the Foundation, which means that I’ve been looking towards the future and thinking about how we can continue to advocate together on all issues that matter to the GBS|CIDP Patient Community. But before we go too far into the future, it is important to not lose sight of the present!  Here is what’s going on in the Advocacy world of the GBS|CIDP Foundation International:

August Advocacy

It’s a given that Congress takes a recess in August to travel back to their home districts and spend time in those offices around their constituents. On my last trip to Capitol Hill, I learned that this practice started with the Founding Fathers, many of whom were farmers and needed to spend August harvesting crops in order to maintain their personal finances. But I digress…

We encouraged the community to meet with their local Congressional offices while Congresspersons and some of their DC staff were there, and more than a dozen advocates responded! I am so proud of the effort that each of our volunteers put into their in-district meetings. In 11 different states, volunteers met with their Member of Congress and asked them to cosponsor HR 2905. Every single advocate reported that their Member of Congress- or their staff, in some cases – was interested in supporting the bill. This is great news and I can’t wait to see the results of this amazing advocacy effort!

There is still time to participate in August Advocacy – either by tweeting at your Representative or sending their office an email. Let me know if you’re interested!

Current Cosponsors

While we wait for the Congresspersons that were visited in August to fill out the paperwork for cosponsorship, I have been eagerly refreshing the website every day to watch for new cosponsors. I am so glad to see that our number has increased to 8 cosponsors (plus our original champion, Congressman Blumenauer!). Here is the list of the current cosponsors, and if you see your Member of Congress, be sure to thank them by sending an email or a tweet:

The best part about this current list is that our 2 most recent cosponsors did so because an advocate from the community sent a letter to them through the Action Center. This is proof that ADVOCACY WORKS! (what a relief!). So my parting wisdom on this topic is to never underestimate the art of sending an email to your Member of Congress. And, we are here to help you do that!

State of the States

I mentioned a creativity streak inspired by the August summer, right? Most of my thinking and planning has been about what we can do as a community to influence policy at the state government level to advance our advocacy goal of improved access to necessary treatments for our community. It gets complicated knowing that some insurance policy is regulated by the federal government and some by each state’s government. It gets even more complicated when we realize that each of the 50 states has a different cause for which we could advocate. So, while we work on launching a way to bring advocacy to the state government, please be patient with the plans that we roll out! In the meantime, I leave you with a question (and peek into my brain) – What does IG mean to you?

Final Thoughts 

Please don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@ChelsOnTheHill) for real-time updates on all things Advocacy at the Foundation. I also am a huge fan of finding fun #ThrowbackThursday pictures!

Also – thank you to all of the 50+ advocates who have written to their Representative and asked them to CoSponsor HR 2905. I promise to follow up with you directly if (when?) your Congressperson signs on to the bill! And soon, we will be doing the same thing on the Senate side!