As an Academy member, you have been asked on some occasions to contribute to the Academy’s Political Action Committee (PAC). You may have questions about exactly how your contribution will be used before making the commitment to make a financial contribution to the PAC. The summary that follows of several PAC-supported events over the last few months will demonstrate how your PAC dollars are being used to advance the Academy’s advocacy initiatives. The PAC Advisory Board identified members of Congress from both political parties to support via local political fundraising events and then engaged Academy members across the country to represent the organization and the profession at these different events.
Event for Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA-5th)
Karen Pak, AuD attended an event for Rep. Thompson in California. Rep. Thompson was an original co-sponsor of the Hearing Aid Tax Credit bill (H.R. 1882) in the House of Representatives and continues to support audiology issues on Capitol Hill. The PAC Advisory Board was pleased to support Dr. Pak’s attendance at this event to ensure that Rep. Thompson knows that he has active audiologist members within his congressional district and that these audiologists recognize his efforts in support of audiology and hearing healthcare on Capitol Hill.
Event for Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Senator Isakson serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs and as a member of both the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and the Senate Committee on Finance. As Chairman of the Senate VA Committee, Senator Isakson holds a commanding position in determining what pieces of legislation affecting veterans will be considered. It is of particular importance for audiologists to connect with Senator Isakson as we work to oppose attempts by hearing aid dispensers to advance their “Fit to Serve” bill, S. 564, which would expand their scope of practice within the VA. To voice these concerns, Alice Cellino, AuD attended an event for Senator Isakson in Georgia. Dr. Cellino reported that she was able to speak directly with the both the Senator and his staff. She shared her concerns with S. 564, as both an audiologist and a constituent, and reported that the Senator was knowledgeable regarding the specifics of this bill and the audiology concerns. Dr. Cellino will continue to connect with the Senator and his staff on any future developments related to this bill.
Event for Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Senator Mike Crapo serves as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the committee of jurisdiction for the Hearing Aid Tax Credit bill (S. 315) and another piece of health-care related legislation. Cory Workman, AuD, an audiologist, and resident of Idaho, took advantage of the opportunity to attend an event for Senator Crapo while he was home in his district during the August congressional recess. As mentioned above, participation in events while the members of Congress are home in their districts allows for more time and direct exposure to the member than typically occurs when attending events in Washington, DC. Dr. Workman reported being able to speak directly with the Senator for some time. He expressed his concerns with and opposition to the “Fit to Serve” bill and volunteered his time and expertise as an audiologist to work on other access related issues. Dr. Workman has already made plans to follow-up with Senator Crapo’s staff on next steps. He appreciated the opportunity to advocate for audiology and become more involved in the process.
Event for Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
Brenna Carroll, AuD attended a PAC fundraising event for Senator Murray in Washington State. Senator Murray is the Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee, the committee with jurisdiction over the EHDI bill (S. 2424). The Academy has been working to pass this legislation in the Senate and having the support of Senator Murray in advancing this bill is critical to our success. The Senate will likely consider this necessary legislation sometime this fall, and Dr. Carroll took the opportunity to discuss the importance of this reauthorization and to make sure this was on the Senate HELP Committee’s radar.
To learn more about Dr. Carroll’s meeting with Senator Murray and the process of attending a local PAC event for a member of Congress click here.