Writing to Congress; it’s as easy as 1-2-3
Keeping in touch with your congressional representative Senators and House Representatives enables them to bring common sense ideas to officiate Capitol Hill in the decision making process. Our elected members of congress are committed to make our government work for the people.
Many Senators and House Representatives are on congressional committees and sub-committees attending to important legislation that affects the health and welfare of American citizens. There are key policy issues of the Academy such as the Farm Bill, Older Americans Act, Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT), Child Nutrition legislation, health care reform, and of course Medicare/Medicaid (CMS) bill amendments, plus newer laws and legislation.
Since far more legislation is shaped in committees rather than in floor debates, senators will direct their attention toward committee assignments. Senators need to be kept informed on the broad range of issues that are important to their states, their constituents and to our nation. The committees they serve on will generally determine the bills they sponsor and the issues to which they will devote their greatest attention. Senators come to the Senate floor to speak on many matters which they feel strongly about, and they will debate bills that reported to them by their committees. That is where we come in as being the constituents they represent and why it is so vastly important for us to write to our Senators and House Representatives.
It is important for all of us to realize that legislators and their staff do want to hear from their constituents on matters of public interest. As medical professionals we have the knowledge and expertise to educate the legislators on issues that affect our patients.
I would like to address the importance for all to write letters &/or telephone our congressional leaders on important legislative issues. We need to be voicing our opinions to our Senators and House Representatives because they will support our opinions and represent our voices when they present their bill proposals and when it comes time for them to vote. Let’s not just sit back and let the “other guy” write the letters or make the telephone calls. Indeed, we are the “other” guy.
Letter writing, in general, to our congressional leaders can be as easy as 1-2-3. You just have to know the steps in getting started; who you want to write to, what your purpose is, and what you would like to convey to congress. The following are some tips for contacting your legislator:
I strongly encourage all of you to get involved in the legislative process in one way or another. The decisions and laws that are made by Congress can be influenced by all of us and they do want to hear from us. November 6, 2012 is this year’s voting date. Empower yourself and others to vote; it is your American right to do so.
Susan M. Reams, RD, LD
President Iowa Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics
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