Senator Obey: Are you Ready to Organize and Fight Back?

by admin on July 22, 2011

 The second day of Hill Day began with Congressman David Obey’s inspiring talk to the State Delegations at the Opening Breakfast and Send Off, providing the stimulus for passionate pleas to be delivered to legislators.  He asks, “Are you ready to organize and fight back? It’s up to you to decide how much you care and are ready to fight for the greater good.” 
 
Congressman David Obey

Obey closed the morning session to a standing ovation. “The country you may save is your own.”

 Hill Visits

Tired behavioral health advocates shared stories from their Hill visits after having suffered the sweltering, near three digit temperatures and humidity. Their asks included a plea to oppose cuts to Medicaid as well as to support the Behavioral Health Information Technology Act and of Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Centers. 

Behavioral health advocates visit their legislators on Capitol Hill

Though legislators consistently warn that the budget is the current priority in Congress, most were positive, such as:

  • Colorado Senators Udall and Bennet who pledged support for all National Council initiatives during visit with the Colorado delegation.
  • The Michigan delegation asked Senator Carl Levin what can be done to support behavioral healthcare:  “Write the president and ask him to fight for revenue.

While not all pledged support, legislators were receptive to hearing from their constituents about behavioral healthcare. Never underestimate the importance of Hill visits for even the most skeptical legislators. They need to hear from you!

Relevant Numbers:

500: The record-breaking number of passionate behavioral health advocates invading Capitol Hill

200: The number of legislators getting first hand reports on important issues affecting community behavioral health

310,000,000: The number of Americans impacted by behavioral health disorders. Roughly 125,000,000 directly and virtually everyone else indirectly through family and friends. 

Hill Day attendees visit Capitol Hill to advocate for behavioral healthcare

Hill Day 2011 came to a close with the Member Awards Reception. No one was surprised when Colorado won the award for having the largest delegation. State association executive director, George DelGrosso, graciously accepted the award, acknowledging that Colorado will soon lose out to other states as the state delegations grow. Several states doubled their size from Hill Day 2010, such as Connecticut.

Hill Day attendees relax after a successful day on Capitol Hill advocating for behavioral healthcare

 

Hill Day Member Awards Reception Hill Day attendees share stories from the Hill

Don’t forget that advocating for behavioral health is not limited to Hill Day. Be sure to contact your legislators to let them know of your concerns. “Now is a great time to use social media to communicate with your legislators. They’re listening because it’s so new,” says Rikki Amos, Political Affairs Council, in her informative session, Building Your Advocacy Toolkit.  So whether you like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, take advantage of the newness to get your message across.
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