Advocacy Update: What’s Next?

Jennifer Donahue
WCAAP Communications Manager

With a successful 2021 legislative session behind us, WCAAP’s legislative committee is ready to focus on preparations for the 2022 session. The committee met for a mini-retreat (via Zoom) on Weds, June 2 to share ideas about what the Chapter should tackle next, and strategic next steps for the interim months.

To determine WCAAP’s annual legislative agenda, the committee weighs several factors:

  1. What have we been hearing about from WCAAP members, including responses to our recent legislative survey?
  2. Does this potential priority address a measured need or known gap that members and families face today?
  3. Does this approach advance child health equity? Does it support child or family well-being?
  4. Are we the right entity to lead on this issue – do we have unique expertise? Or is there another body that is already working on this that we can support?
  5. Is our proposed solution feasible?
  6. Is the external context right for accomplishing this priority in the coming year or few years?

While we can’t take the lead on every issue that affects children and families, we can lend support to other organizations that may be better positioned to advance a bill. Adding our trusted name in support to an effort and is recognized by legislators!

We will draft our legislative priorities in the next few months, our board will ratify the 2022 legislative priorities in September, and we will remain nimble in the months before January 2022 to ensure our priorities match partners’ and legislators’ approaches and priorities. For those issues we identify as top priorities, we rely on WCAAP members to help educate legislators, whether by responding to action alerts, meeting with legislators, or providing testimony in a committee hearing. Last year alone WCAAP members sent more than 1500 messages to legislators, held 30+ meetings with legislators, and testified or provided written testimony for 26 bill hearings! Thank you to everyone who has pitched in over the years – we know your time is valuable, so we try to be strategic with our requests.

Advocacy is a year-round pursuit!

The next 6 months are a crucial opportunity to build on our foundation as a trusted resource for legislators. Please consider meeting with your legislators during the summer or in the fall, to talk to them about the issues the families in your community are facing. Invite them to visit your clinic, or just meet for 30 minutes via Zoom! We are happy to help you set up a meeting – contact us with a few dates and times here.