“You can’t win last night’s game again.”
—George Karl, professional basketball player and coach
Amid the angst and upheaval from our recent elections and associated uncertainty for future healthcare policies, one thing remains clear: We must increase our engagement with our elected officials to educate them on the needs of our profession and our patients. Achieving this requires access so we can develop relationships with our elected officials and their staff.
That is RheumPAC’s primary function: We facilitate access to elected officials and their staff and the development of these relationships for our members through our connections and contributions.
Our fundraising was stable in 2016, both in the number of our investors and dollars raised. However, to fully support the ACR’s expanded advocacy agenda, increased member participation is necessary.
In 2016, RheumPAC underwent a comprehensive review of its history and past work. We will be utilizing this knowledge to improve our members’ understanding of and participation in the College’s advocacy work.
Among our 2017 goals are simplifying the process of investing through recurrent or mobile means and adding specific benefits at each investment level. We will continue to provide updates throughout the year as part of our goal to keep everyone better apprised of the actions of their Political Action Committee.
Life is about time and/or money, although the latter receives the most press and anxiety. Our careers and patients depend on every ACR and ARHP member investing more of their time and/or money promoting the College’s advocacy priorities. A new Congress means new legislators, new staff, new committee assignments and new leadership—all of which impact RheumPAC’s budget.
RheumPAC strategically distributes your investments in a bipartisan manner to those legislators who have demonstrated support for our policies or who are in a position to further our current priorities. More investors strengthen our message and allow us to develop relationships with even more legislators. Our list of RheumPAC-supported legislators for the 115th Congress will be available online soon.
The volunteers on RheumPAC, Government Affairs Committee or other committees cannot perform all the tasks necessary to achieve our common policy goals. It is critically important that more members actively participate in the College’s advocacy efforts by sharing the ACR’s advocacy agenda and policy goals to your peers and colleagues or at meetings.
What You Can Do
An exceptionally valuable action: Represent the ACR by attending a local event for your representative or senator, and deliver a RheumPAC check. We will provide the resources and talking points to ensure that each member is comfortable speaking about the policy issues important to all of us. Lawmakers and staff are more accessible and attentive to constituents’ comments at local events than they are in D.C. An ACR member delivering our message to a member of Congress in their district as a constituent is the most effective means to educate them on our policy goals and needs.