Between now and the November electon candidates for Congress will make many apperances on the campaign trail. This means colon and rectal cancer advocates will have opportunity to make cancer an issue. Jim Wetekam, C3 Director of Policy Communications, came up with some great ideas for you to use at any open fourm featuring your current Senator or Representative as well as others running for the office.
Remember to arrive early as this will allow you to sit in the front row or other prominent location in order to be recognized for a question. If microphones are set up, sit near one and immediately go to it when the floor is opened for questions.
Before the event’s start, talk to staff and let them know you would like to ask a question about cancer funding as they may help facilitate this for you. Remember to exchange business cards either before or after the event with any staff present. Try to have an informal conversation after the event with either the current office holder or the opponent.
Reporters may be present so be sure to talk to them. Rebecca Dague, C3 advocate living in Ohio, found the person from the local paper and talked to him before the forum. She introduced herself to him and made sure to sit at the same table as he did. The result was her question to Representative Ralph Regula and his response were reported in the newspaper the next day. Click here to read a post about Rebecca’s experience.
Now is not the time to make a long speech. A one or two sentence statement followed by a good question is much more effective.
Here are some suggestions:
Cancer kills 1,500 Americans every day, yet the President and the House of Representatives are proposing cuts to critical cancer research and programs that help people get life-saving screenings and treatment. The Senate bill is not much better at this point. Will you oppose an funding bill that cuts cancer funding?
As a colorectal cancer survivor, I am incredibly grateful for the past investment in cancer resaerch that led to the screenings and treatments that have saved my life. I am disturbed to find out that the House of Representatives this year is proposing cuts to cancer research and to cancer prevention programs in the bill that funds these programs. The Senate bill is not much better. Will you agree to oppose any bill that cuts cancer funding so as to ensure we can continue making progress toward finding more and better screening and treatments for this disease?
The House and Senate are both on record as supporting an increase of $7 billion in fiscal year 2007 for crucial health as well as other programs, yet the appropriations bills from both sides of Congress are billions short of that commitment (the House by $3 billion and the Senate by $2 billion). Will you support the full $7 billion needed in the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriation bill to keep us on pace in the war against cancer?
Feel free to adapt these to your cancer experience, the type of forum, and the person or persons whom you ask.