ANA Lobby Day 2012 is Almost Here!
With Congress in what seems like perpetual gridlock and with the 2012 elections only six months away, many frustrated constituents have given up on the Congress all together. We at ANA believe this is a mistake. In fact, now is the time for nurses just like you to join forces and amplify your voice on the pressing issues facing you and your patients.
Ever feel like you don’t have a voice? The truth is your voice is more powerful than you even know. In 2011, the non-partisan Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) conducted a comprehensive study of 260 Congressional staff members on the effectiveness of citizen advocacy and the findings were stunning. 97% of Congressional staff said that in-person visits conducted by constituents have a positive influence on their boss’ decision making on key policies and legislation, ranking higher than every other group listed. This flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that it’s the big “fat-cat” lobbyists who drive policy and decision making in Washington, DC.
Now this is where you come in –what happens on Capitol Hill isn’t just about moving legislation, it’s about educating your members of Congress about the challenges and opportunities nurses just like you are facing every day. The fact is, you’re not only their constituents, you’re also the experts on the front lines of health care and they want to hear from you. As you know the 2012 ANA House of Delegates is coming soon and once again ANA will be hosting a lobby day as part of the activities. In 2010 over 300 nurses from around the country stormed Capitol Hill to lobby educate their elected officials on the critical issues facing nursing today. For those nurses who weren’t able to take part in person, we offered a virtual component, making it easy for them to call or send letters to their Members of Congress from the comfort of their own homes and on their schedule. Both the in-person and virtual lobby days were a huge success and the response from Congress was almost immediate. Within a few days we saw a dramatic increase in the number of co-sponsorships on our key bills by members of Congress that our nurses visited with. This is democracy in action!
Now is the time to do it again! On Wednesday, June 13th ANA will be hosting its 2012 Lobby Day, will you lend your voice? Registration is now open! Like 2010 we will provide you with a breakfast briefing, including a panel discussion with high ranking Congressional staff from both parties as well as an information packet loaded with details on your visits, talking points and the dos and don’ts of lobbying. There will also be an opportunity to earn CE by taking part.
For those of you who are unable to join us in person, we will once again be conducting an simultaneous “virtual” lobby day experience, allowing you to flex your political mussels no matter where you are or what you’re doing. All you need is a computer, internet access and 10 minutes of your time.
Election years are a great opportunity to find and support candidates that have demonstrated support for patient advocacy with proven track records on nursing issues. Here at ANA we encourage every nurse no matter what your party affiliation to be active on a campaign this election year. Whether it’s phone banking, canvassing or handing out signs, it’s a great way for nurses to be politically active and allows them to build a relationship with that elected official. To support these activities the ANA will be once again hosting a Nurses Campaign Activity Night (Nurses CAN!) and will be providing interested nurses information on where to sign up, what activities they can perform and some fun ideas on how to get your fellow nurses to join you. All of this and more will be found on our 2012 Election Action Center which will be up soon with all the details.
Remember, when nurses talk, Washington listens!