Getting to Know You:  New Legislators in 2019

As the 116th Congress gets underway,  AAPA is already working with returning and new members of Congress to reintroduce our priority pieces of legislation in the coming weeks and months. Watch this page for news and action alerts!   In the meantime, it is critically important for PAs across the country to begin laying the foundation now by establishing relationships with the 111 new Senators and Representatives and strengthening relations with returning Members in these early weeks of the new Congress.  Here are 5 quick things every PA can do: 

  1. Do your research.  After the election, identify new legislators, and research their background.  Do they have prior healthcare experience?  Are there other factors which might make them potential supporters of our issues?  Were they state legislators, and did you have a chance to work with them there?  Most candidates have extensive bios on their websites where you can learn about their profession and interests.
  2. Reach out.  Reach out via phone or email to congratulate the new legislator his or her election victory and (re)introduce them to the PA profession.  Indicate that you are excited to work together, and offer to be a resource in the community for the legislator on healthcare – specifically, on PA issues.  Include your state's practice profile with your email. 
  3. Arrange a meeting.  A recent Congressional Managements Foundation survey confirms what successful PA advocates have known for years:  in-person visits and communications from constituents are the best way to influence a legislator on an issue.   Ask to meet with the legislator and health staffer in person in the local district. (AAPA has a toolkit for that!)  This is primarily a get-to-know-you meeting, so plan to spend time talking about what you do, where and how you work, and the role of PAs in your facility and state.
  4. Use your PA skills.  Foster your budding advocacy relationships in the same way you build rapport with patients:  be trustworthy, be respectful, communicate clearly.  You'll build the confidence of potential champions and be well-positioned to inform their decision making.
  5. Keep in touch.  Communicate often and let them know the role PAs are playing in your community. Re-state your willingness to be a resource the legislator can count on.    Show appreciation for their interest and efforts on your behalf – "thank you" goes a long way. 

Building relationships takes time and persistence, but there is no better indicator of potential legislative success than the strength of your relationships with decision-makers.  



 


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