August Recess: A Time to Build Relationships

Establishing relationships with elected officials is the key to effective advocacy. This can seem intimidating, but policymakers want to know their constituents and better understand their voters’ concerns. Consider taking time to contact and educate your legislators. August recess is the best time to establish and build relationships with your US members of Congress since they are back home in their districts. The recess is from July 31 to September 4. Start planning now for a successful outcome. Here are some suggestions:

APTA Action App
Download this extremely valuable tool to advocate. This app serves as a one-stop shop, with features including: a link to the legislative action center, a link to PTPAC to make a donation, visit reports to be used post-advocacy events, a Congressional directory, Advocacy Network signup and other helpful information. It’s a great way to learn about PT issues to help educate members of Congress.

Town Hall Meeting
Attend a town hall meeting. Often members of Congress will hold a town hall meeting where they will discuss important issues that they see as a priority to their Congressional district. Research their Congressional website to find a town hall meeting that is virtual or near you. Look for one focused on healthcare. Consider asking a question or raising issues that they also believe are important.

PT/PTA School Visit or Practice Visit
Organize a visit to your PT/PTA program or private practice. Your campus or practice can host a member of Congress who represents the Congressional district where it is located. They will familiarize themselves on the issues important to physical therapy and share their views. Practices can give tours of their clinics, introduce them to patients, and show a legislator firsthand the value of physical therapy. Don’t hesitate to reach out to their offices. They will be grateful for exposure to potential voters.

District Meeting
Schedule a district office meeting with your US Senators and/or House of Representative. Best to schedule at the end of the recess so that you have enough time to recruit others to join you from different practice settings. Imagine being able to lobby an issue with a PT or PTA from every practice setting giving their patients a voice. You only need to call or email the Congressional office to schedule a 15-minute meeting. They will meet with you since being a constituent makes you an important person.

PT-PAC Fund Raiser
Physical Therapy Political Action Committee (PT-PAC) is the fundraising arm of the APTA. Contact Michael Matlack at [email protected] to see if there are any fund raisers to attend in your Congressional district. If your member of Congress is a co-sponsor of several of our priority issues, there may be dollars for you to attend an event. These events support candidates for office, who support issues that are important to physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students.

Pick one or two activities this August recess to help advance the profession and provide better care for your patients. Use this August Recess Guide to help you be successful.

Contact Eva Norman, PT, DPT – FPTA Federal Affairs Liaison at [email protected] to share your activities and for any help and support.

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