AMPAC/OMA Conduct Regional Campaign & Grassroots Seminar
On January 27, 2012, AMPAC and Oregon Medical Association co-hosted a Regional Campaign and Grassroots Seminar at OMA Headquarters in Portland. 30 physicians, state society staff and other members of organized medicine attended. The Seminar was timed to coincide with the opening of the Oregon legislature’s session the following week. The session focused on effective grassroots advocacy techniques, and on ways for participants to increase their impact on political campaigns.
One of the highlights of the program was a panel discussion entitled “Straight Talk: Taking Office,” which provided an invaluable perspective on physicians seeking and holding public office. The panel included 3 current/former physician public officials (Senate Deputy Majority Leader Alan Bates, MD, Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward, MD, former Mayor of Baker City Chuck Hofmann, MD) one physician candidate (Sharon Meieran, MD) and one state representative (Jim Thompson). The panelists all agreed that physicians are well positioned to become public servants, but that the rough-and-tumble nature of the political and policy processes requires realistic expectations and a willingness to continue to learn.
Stephanie Vance of Advocacy Associates outlined effective techniques for communicating with state and federal legislators. Jim Wilson of AMPAC discussed effective specific ways physicians can be more effectively involved in political campaigns, including how to adapt get-out-the-vote (GOTV) methods for Oregon’s all-mail elections. A pair of campaign consultants from both sides of the political aisle provided some specific advice on the questions potential physicians need to consider when contemplating public office. Democratic Michelle Rossolo and Republican Rick Thomas provided an overview of basic campaign structures and operations and reminded attendees that a campaign has to start by assessing the sentiments and aspirations of the constituents. But physicians have an advantage here, since they speak with and care for so many people in their communities.
The AMPAC Regional Campaign and Grassroots Seminars are designed to provide training in political campaigns and grassroots lobbying, so that physicians and friends of medicine can help advance medicine’s agenda at all levels of government. AMPAC arranges for faculty and materials, and asks that a state medical society provide meeting space, meals and invite attendees. If your state society would like more information on co-hosting a Regional Seminar in 2012, please contact Jim Wilson, Political Education Programs Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.