What a great legislative conference! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) really does a wonderful job training up pediatricians, family advocates and affiliate members who wish to take action and do what they can to be a voice for kids.
I wanted to do one last post to reflect on the 25th Annual AAP Legislative conference and all I learned from that experience.
- Anyone with a story to tell can become an effective advocate. As a citizen of this country, everyone and anyone can exercise their right to vote and talk with their legislators on any issue that is most concerning or important to them.
- Talking to legislators is a whole lot easier than you think. The bottom line is you can make an appointment to meet with or talk to your legislators. if you do not know who they are, you can go to house.gov and put in your zip code to find your representative or go to senate.gov and put in your state to find your two senators. The two times I have gone to the Hill I met with knowledgeable and smart staffers and want to understand why a certain issue is important to you. The appointments are usually 20 minutes tops. Just have a fact sheet, business card or other piece to leave behind with information you wish to communicate.
- Social media can be an effective platform to share your views, break through
myths/misconceptions and even tweet your legislators! If you went on Twitter this past week, you likely saw #AAPLegCon trending. There is power in numbers…so when you see certain hashtags trending, that means a lot of chatter is going on…I got to help some new tweetiatricians launch their first tweets…as well as tweeted with two of my representatives in real-time to say THANKS and make appointments!
- Follow up with your contacts after your appointments to the Hill or local offices by email. Offering to be a resource and sending links to stories/op-eds is a great way to follow-up and keep building your relationship.