Jenny Gardner, a dedicated IDF volunteer in Florida, has made it a point to become very involved in politics in her state, going to multiple public meetings and taking the opportunity to build relationships with Members of Congress throughout her area. As a result of Jenny’s tenacity and persistence, Reps. Ted Deutch, C.W. Bill Young, and Allen West have all become cosponsors of IDF’s Medicare IVIG Access legislation! Below, Jenny recounts her experience at a dinner with Congressman Allen West on August 15, 2011:
Congressman West has made himself extremely available during the August recess. He has had Conference Call Town Hall meetings and has been at different functions all over the county. I am going to guess there were about 400 there last night, standing room only. When the Congressman arrived, his Security Detail was trying to get him through the crowd to the podium, but if someone could get to his attention, he would stop and say hello. I had hoped I would be able to talk to him to ask if he could drop by our IDF Education Meeting this weekend, but when I saw the crowds I knew it would be impossible. I even asked one of the Security Detail if I could have just a moment with him and was told no. I was not surprised, as this meeting was so overcrowded. As the Congressman came down the aisle, he spotted me and smiled and called my name and told the Security guys to let me through.
Jenny is a fabulous example of the importance of maintaining relationships with policymakers in order to get the voice of the PIDD community heard! Because Jenny made a point to cultivate her relationship with Rep. West, he met with her personally during IDF’s Advocacy Day in May and became a cosponsor of Medicare IVIG Access Act. But Jenny has not let that be her end point! She continues to engage with the Congressman in order to remind him about the needs of our community. Even if Rep. West cannot attend the IDF Patient Meeting on August 20, Jenny has succeeded in keeping him as an interested ally in our campaign for access and awareness. Way to go Jenny!
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