More than 170 veterinarians traveled to Capitol Hill on Thursday, Aug .1, to hold meetings with members of Congress on important legislative issues affecting veterinary medicine. This was AVMA’s largest Capitol Hill event ever, held in conjunction with the 2019 AVMA Convention in Washington.
The volunteer leaders, primarily members of the AVMA House of Delegates and Board of Directors, participated in more than 200 meetings with congressional lawmakers and their staff. Before heading to the meetings, they heard from U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) about the importance of veterinary advocacy. Rep. Yoho is one of three veterinarians in Congress and the 2019 recipient of the AVMA Advocacy Award. Participants also heard from AVMA staff experts about the details of the legislative issues they’d be discussing.
Following the presentations, AVMA members boarded four buses to Capitol Hill, where they spent the afternoon visiting congressional offices. The legislative issues they discussed with policymakers included access to rural veterinary care, prescription mandates and the need to expand healthcare options for veterinarians. Specifically, they asked lawmakers to support the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act and the Association Health Plans Act of 2019, and to oppose prescription mandate legislation.
These meetings were a unique chance for AVMA members to meet face-to-face with their representatives in Congress and provide personal accounts illustrating why these legislative issues matter and how they affect veterinary care at the local level. In-person meetings are one of the most effective ways to make a difference in Congress.
While the 2019 AVMA Convention provided a special opportunity to bring AVMA members to Washington for face-to-face policy meetings, we work to connect AVMA members with Congress each and every day. Throughout the year, the AVMA helps members come together with lawmakers for meetings in their local districts, and also makes it easy to call or email Congress through the AVMA Congressional Advocacy Network.
If you’re interested in getting more involved in advocacy, we encourage you to start by taking AVMA’s advocacy survey.