Monday, March 18, 2013


Stewart Ferry, Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA-35), Mary Ann Braubach
March 4-6, the 22nd annual National MS Society Public Policy Conference was held in Arlington, VA. Over 300 MS Activists came together to learn about our 2013 priorities:  maintaining adequate funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and for MS-related research at the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.  Guest speakers included Fmr. Senator
Byron Dorgan (ND), JP Paluskiewicz, deputy chief of staff to MS Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (TX-26) and veteran pollster Celinda Lake. MS activists talked about how they are involved at the FDA and the impact that medical research has had on the development of MS therapies and other speakers educated the crowd about using social media to promote advocacy.

Jimmy Fahrenholtz, Roi-Lynne Hulin, Rep. John Fleming, M.D. (LA-5), Erin Hulin, Crystal Smith

A snow storm, which earned the formidable nickname “Snowquester” hit the D.C. region towards the end of the conference and unfortunately, significantly impacted the visits MS
activists were planning to make on Capitol Hill. Despite this, MS activists persevered and some were able to visit their lawmakers before they headed home! Dozens of Hill visits occurred the day before and after the scheduled Hill Day and one meeting even occurred in the airport!
Rep. John Shimkus (IL-15), Amy Thomas, Steve Izard, Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13)

Even though the storm dampened our Hill Day, true to form, our MS activists remained strong and were able to educate our public officials about MS and encourage them to support funding for the FDA and MS research. The budget climate in Washington remains tough, so this advocacy is critical to preserving funding for our community and kick starts our year. Thanks to all those who traveled to Washington and persevered in the eye of the storm!

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