With a new year coming fast upon us, it is a good time to look ahead to how you are going to reach out to your local, state and federal elected officials. Even if you do not have any policy asks to discuss with them now, just informing your elected officials of developments in the field of IDD will foster familiarity and trust that will be helpful when you do actually have something to ask.
Please consider scheduling appointments for the coming year now. ANCOR will be able to help you with federal meetings – please reach out to Doris Parfaite-Claude, our Government Relations Manager for tips and best practices at [email protected]. Your state associations will be able to help you with state-level outreach. Who knows, you might discover that your elected official is already well connected to IDD providers! For example, since our last LINKS issue, ANCOR has found out that two state association executives also serve in their states’ legislatures:
Kate Bolz, ANCOR member and Executive Director of the Nebraska Association of State Providers: Kate has been serving as Nebraska State Senator for District 29 since 2012. Early in her career she worked with Lutheran Services of America, and now in addition to her work with the Nebraska Association and the legislature, she serves as an Adjunct Professor at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Kate was kind enough to share a few words with ANCOR about how her experience in the legislature harmonizes with her work as a state association executive:
“Working with with the Nebraska Association of Service Providers and the American Network of Community Options and Resources continues to make me a better State Senator. First, because I work with the results of state funding and legislation every day and appreciate the importance of "connecting the dots" between policy goals and practical realities. Second, because the expertise offered by the NASP and ANCOR networks helps me make ideals such as financial independence a reality, such as by passing the authorizing legislation for tax-free "Enable" savings accounts in Nebraska. I'm glad to be a part of this work that promotes success for the people I represent.”
Mark Drennan, Executive Director of the West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice appointed Mark the state Senate’s 4th District (Putnam) in September 2017 to replace State Senator Mike Hall, who went on to serve Governor Justice as Chief of Staff. Prior to working with the Providers Association, Mark served as Chief Strategy Officer for the Children’s Home Society. In addition to his work with the legislature and the state association, Mark serves on several councils, including the Medical (WV Medicaid) Services Fund Advisory Council.