Sarah Rafton, MSW
Executive Director, Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Amber Ulvenes became WCAAP’s contract lobbyist in July and we wanted to share with you a little bit about our newest team member.
Amber has called Olympia her home since middle school. Today, Amber lives in Olympia with her husband, 12-year-old daughter, 9-year-old son, and 6-year-old daughter. Amber’s parents live just blocks away and take care of the children weekly.
Amber became a lobbyist ten years ago after serving as legislative staff for the Republican Caucus in the Washington State House of Representatives. When she was pregnant with her second child Amber quit her role as a legislative staff when she couldn’t get support for time off or a job-share. Amber describes this “risky move of passion” paying off; once she was ready to work (then) Group Health recruited Amber. This was a great fit for Amber’s interest and passion for health care, largely born from her experience as a mother. In addition to representing Kaiser Permanente, Amber represents the Alzheimer’s Association, Midwives Association and Dispute Resolution Centers.
Amber is active in her community on the board of Sidewalk which is an evidence-based, rapid re-housing program, working to get people into housing first, then provide them supportive resources. Through this model people are more likely to recover and keep stable housing.
Amber is also active on her block, organizing the annual alley crawl. Neighbors spend 15 minutes at each house over an entire afternoon in July. Each home for two blocks offers a drink and a snack and neighbors stroll from porch to porch.
Amber is moved by the passion of the physicians to care for children at WCAAP, which makes her feel she’s landed in the right place. Amber has strong “appreciation for the work the Chapter is doing to make Washington better for kids’ health and make it a place where pediatricians can be happy working.”
Amber loves to read and work in her yard, as well as running and spending time with her family. She just finished Lonesome Dove and enjoyed the story of being on the land in the mid-1880’s before there was much in the West. She also just re-read Animal Vegetable Miracle, in which a family decides to live a year off their property. Amber appreciated the humor and theme, as she’s been growing an edible garden herself, including fruit trees and even hazelnuts. Please join me in welcoming Amber to WCAAP. I hope you have the chance to work with her and appreciate her strategic approach and charming manner.