Washington, D.C. is an ever-changing environment. The policy focus of our elected officials can change in an instant, but ours does not. Our focus remains patient-centered.
Even when our politics run high, our commitment to pushing for improved public policy, laws and budgets remains steadfast. Using facts, the media, stories and tailored messaging to educate government officials and policymakers, we make our voices heard. Evaluating and refreshing our advocacy efforts, strategies, and tactics is critical to our effectiveness.
Refreshing Our Congressional Committee
Four years ago we launched our Congressional Advisory Committee. It was during a time when healthcare reform was focused on expanded access. The committee was created as a way to bring together and recognize champions on the Hill with connections to colorectal cancer. Each member or their staff members have been personally impacted by the disease, and all have been moved by the strength and energy of the CRC community.
Now, several years later, public discourse on healthcare reform has changed dramatically. We felt (and know our advocates also felt) the need to go back to our committee members and refresh their role and commitments.
It took us some time to do this. It required Hill meetings, calls and follow-up discussions. But, we are happy to share a renewed and refreshed Congressional Committee. They are not an “advisory” committee, so we removed that from the name to clarify their purpose. During our meetings we went over how the committee needs to work and our next steps.
Here’s our plan.
Reintroduce the committee members.
First, we want to remind you of who sits on our current Congressional Committee. Click below to read the press release about why and when they joined!
- Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ)
- Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN)
- Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
- Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
- Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
- Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)
- Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)
Continue to ensure Committee members are our first stop on the Hill
Through extensive advocacy and outreach, Fight CRC builds relationships with members of Congress and their staffs, and works with them to find ways to reduce the negative impacts of colorectal cancer. The Congressional Committee is our first stop on Capitol Hill when we see a legislative opportunity or when we face a policy challenge.
It does not mean they will sign on to our request, but they are our first line of potential supporters. (*Remember, some members cannot support legislation due to leadership roles they may hold, but they can be influential behind the scenes.) We will continue engaging the members of our Committee in this way.
Think creatively about policy solutions
The Committee serves as a way to bring together members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to share experiences, exchange ideas and work collaboratively on the challenges faced by colorectal cancer patients. Members on our Committee commit not only their time but their staff’s time to help us think creatively about policy solutions to reduce the negative impacts of colorectal cancer.
Recent examples of this include Committee members introducing and co-sponsoring legislation like the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screening Act, initiating Dear Colleague Letters to support medical research funding levels for colorectal cancer programs and speaking about the importance of medical research.
Voice the needs of the CRC Community
The Committee’s success depends on our engagement and support. They may have their own experiences with CRC, but it’s important that they get to know you and hear your stories as well.
When we have thousands of supporters send an email through an Action Alert or sign a petition we initiate, we always provide them with this information to arm them with stories and proof that this disease should be a priority on the Hill. This doesn’t only get the attention of their office, but it can also spark conversations amongst other offices as well.
Clarify Fight CRC’s advocacy role
Fight CRC is a 501(c)3 organization; we are not a political campaign nor do we engage in lobbying activities like a 501(c)4. As a 501(c)3, the IRS requires that we maintain a non-partisan approach to our advocacy and educational efforts.
We represent advocates of differing political affiliations, and we work independently and regardless of which political party controls the House, Senate or White House. We make every effort to find strong allies on both sides of the aisle.
To that end, being a member of our Congressional Committee does not necessarily serve as an endorsement of all of Fight CRC’s legislative positions. We are not promoting one member over another.
We have learned that Fight CRC will not agree 100% of the time with members of the Congressional Committee. However, we will focus on identifying ways we can work together to make a meaningful impact on the lives of colorectal cancer patients. This is a shared commitment that has recently been renewed.
We are always looking for creative ways to educate policymakers and their staff members on issues facing the CRC community. Let us know your ideas!
Recruit more Congressional Champions
Last – our plan includes looking for more members and growing the Congressional Committee! With a refreshed committee name, commitment and purpose, we’re ready to ramp up our advocacy efforts!
Do you know a member of Congress that would be interested in joining Fight CRC’s Congressional Committee? Do any of them have personal connections to colorectal cancer that you know about? Please tell us more, our policy team in D.C. is all ears and ready to reach out!
Email us this information and we will be in touch!
- The name of the member of Congress
- Their connection to colorectal cancer (if any)
- Why would they be a good addition to the Congressional Committee?