April 15, 2004


 AVMAPAC a factor in recent legislative victories

Opportunities for AVMA members to get involved

Posted April 1, 2004

In recent months, the AVMA has experienced great success in the passage and enactment of several key bills on the Executive Board's legislative agenda. This success can be attributed to the lobbying efforts of AVMA leadership and staff, campaign support for congressional candidates, and advocacy from the AVMA grassroots network.

One of the easiest ways for AVMA members to take action and help continue this success is to deliver an AVMA Political Action Committee check personally to a candidate in their home state/district, and talk to them about the AVMA's legislative agenda.

The AVMAPAC mission is to advance the AVMA legislative agenda by providing financial support to selected candidates seeking election to Congress.

A role of the AVMAPAC Policy Board is to determine which candidates should receive contributions. This determination is based on select criteria of voting record, leadership and seats on key congressional committees, accessibility to AVMA staff and members, and other factors.

Many candidates are proud to receive this support because of their high regard for the veterinary profession and the role of veterinarians in American society. Many candidates request AVMAPAC contributions, not just for the financial support, but also to promote the fact that veterinarians support them.

Therefore, incumbents and challengers alike generally welcome a personal meeting with a constituent and veterinarian to discuss their agenda.

Delivering PAC checks is a great way for AVMA members and PAC donors to spread the message to their representatives or senators about issues of importance to the veterinary profession.

Members of Congress are much more attentive to the needs of their constituents than they are to those of the typical Washington lobbyist. Many campaigns in the district will give you a face-to-face visit, or attendance at a key fund-raiser. Last year, for example, Executive Board member Roger K. Mahr attended an event featuring House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois.

Consequently, AVMA members who take advantage of the PAC check delivery program find themselves more involved politically. They become knowledgeable about current legislation and how it affects them personally and professionally.

The AVMA's grassroots program, the Congressional Action Network, is made up of members who periodically contact their members of Congress on issues relating to the AVMA legislative agenda. In this program, each state has a legislative coordinator who determines which AVMA members are to deliver the PAC checks to each senator or representative.

This program has not been utilized recently with the absence of a PAC grassroots coordinator. Now that the position is filled, efforts will be made to revitalize the Congressional Action Network and get more members involved.

In this current election cycle, the PAC Policy Board has allocated more than 150 contributions to members of the House and Senate. The recipients are Republicans and Democrats, incumbents and challengers, who are considered important to the success of the AVMA legislative agenda.

Some of those contributions have not yet been distributed, so to get involved, contact the AVMA Governmental Relations Division in Washington, D.C., today.

For more information about the AVMAPAC check delivery program or the AVMA Congressional Agenda, contact me at the AVMA GRD, 1101 Vermont Avenue N.W., Suite 100, Washington, D.C. 20005-3521, or (800) 321-1473, Ext. 3206; or via e-mail at tfoltyn@avma.org.