Whom do you know on Capitol Hill?
There’s no big secret to the relationship the Virginia Psychological Association’s (VPA) federal advocacy coordinator Cathleen A. Rea, PhD, has established with Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va. “I just plugged away every year,” she says.
Rea and her colleagues in VPA have met with Rep. Wittman during the annual State Leadership Conference sponsored by APA and the APA Practice Organization every year since he took office in 2007, as well as setting up meetings with him in the district. “We put a face of psychology there,” said Rea. “We just do what we do best: build relationships, be sympathetic, model flexibility.”
Persistence gradually paid off. In 2010, Wittman invited Rea to participate in his multidisciplinary task force on health care reform. In 2012, Wittman first signed on as a co-sponsor of APAPO-supported legislation to include psychologists in Medicare’s physician definition.
These kinds of relationships are invaluable for professional psychology. Knowing your member of Congress and being able to make a quality contact with the congressional office can significantly advance the APA Practice Organization’s (APAPO) legislative goals.
That’s why APAPO has launched a key contact initiative to determine what relationships psychologists already have with their members of Congress. If you know a member of Congress and would be willing to contact him or her to advocate on behalf of professional please contact our Director of Field and State Operations Chad Appel, JD, by email or at (202) 336-5620.
The depth of your relationship does not matter. Any type of connection can be valuable. For example, let us know if you went to school with a legislator, attend the same place of worship or volunteered on their first local campaign.
The initiative is taking place in four phases. First, gathering information from psychologists with established relationships with members of Congress. Second, analyzing and compiling the information to prioritize relationship-building efforts. Third, identifying APA Practice Organization members who could serve as key contacts and help foster relationship-building efforts. And finally, engaging key contacts to connect with members of Congress to further specific advocacy efforts.
Thank you for membership and engagement in the APA Practice Organization.