"Hasta Luego" Message From the Chair
Dear colleagues and friends,
What an incredible year this has been! Thanks to your contributions and support, the visibility of ASHA-PAC has increased both within our own professional activities as well as on the Hill.
In early 2013, you'll receive our annual report; however, it's important to note that in this critical election year, your contributions helped us support over 70 candidates for Congressional office. In synchrony with ASHA's public policy agenda, we were able to highlight issues of true relevance to us all: the Medicare therapy cap, Medicare coverage of audiology services, funding for IDEA, and reduction of burdensome paperwork, among others.
This year the PAC has spurred new initiatives to increase ASHA member participation.
- We rolled out a "$5.00" campaign encouraging each ASHA member to contribute just $5.00 in support of the PAC. If every member gave this amount, we would be one of the most powerful PACs in Washington, DC. So far, over 100 members have contributed in response to the campaign!
- We also initiated the "Go for the Gold!" challenge in sync with the Olympics. The challenge was to all ASHA Boards and Committees to reach 100% member participation in some form of contribution to the PAC. We are very happy to say that the enthusiasm was great; the Schools Finance Committee was the first to reach Gold! A special plaque will be placed in the Volunteers Room at the ASHA National Office, in recognition of this achievement.
- Facebook and Twitter have been on the minds of many on the PAC Board of Directors, especially Doanne Williams. She worked with ASHA staff to ensure information on the PAC is posted on ASHA's advocacy page.
Many in-house operational changes have taken place this year, including our more streamlined approach to following-up with colleagues who have not renewed their commitment to support the PAC and a better way to ensure members know if they have contributed or not. Despite losing two wonderful directors of the PAC this year, we were able to keep the business of the PAC moving forward.
This leads us to a very special "thank you" to the two ASHA staff members who jumped in—not once, but twice—this year to keep us running: Ingrida Lusis, director, Federal & Political Advocacy, and Caroline Goncalves, associate director, Federal Advocacy. Without their willingness to handle all the "busy work" of keeping us afloat, we would not be where we are. And I must say, they did it seamlessly and with a smile! Thanks to their hard work and dedication, we are celebrating a good year indeed! My heartfelt "gracias" to you both!
Finishing his term on the PAC Board of Directors this year is Les Aungst. He leaves us with a legacy of accomplishments on behalf of PAC. Thank you, Les, for all your work and dedication! Joining us in 2013 is Greg Altobella. We are happy to welcome him and look forward to working together. You'll be hearing about Greg in a future issue of The ASHA-PAC Insider.
Also, many thanks to a wonderful Board of Directors: Tori Gustafson, Julie Martinez Verhoff, Doanne Williams, Les Aungst, Theresa Rodgers, and Arlene Pietranton. I know Tori, the incoming chair, will continue to move ASHA-PAC to the next level.
Most important, thanks to you for your contributions and your support of ASHA-PAC. Without your support, we would not be visible on the Hill and could not promote the issues important to us all. May your new year be filled with joy and all good things.
Luis F. Riquelme, PhD, CCC-SLP, BRS-S
2012 Chair, ASHA-PAC Board of Directors