Guest Blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director
On February 27th, our Lobby Day at the Oregon State Capitol was nothing short of inspiring. Firefighters, doctors, students, business leaders, survivors and advocates joined together in the marble hallways of Oregon’s capitol building to meet with their state legislators in support of heart-healthy policies. See the Portland Tribune's coverage of our big day.
To those of you who joined us in Salem or took online action, I just want to say THANK YOU. Together with you, we educated and advocated for our top priority issues in the coming year: ensuring CPR is taught in schools, protecting Oregonians from tobacco, and preventing childhood obesity.
Thanks to our volunteers, here’s how we did it:
- We connected with every state legislator’s office in-person or via email
- We met face-to-face with dozens of legislators and their staffers
- We enabled students to teach Hands-Only CPR to over 30 legislators and staffers
On the big day, our volunteers heard from a few special guests.
Fire Chief Mike Duyck of Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and the Vice President of the Western Fire Chiefs Association, emphasized the strong support from the fire service and first responders in Oregon for teaching young people Hands-Only CPR.
State Senator Mark Hass spoke about how his work to increase access to lifesaving equipment and education is rooted in his community and personal experience. Sen. Hass was the driving force that made Oregon the first state in the country to require AEDs in large commercial buildings.
We were especially appreciative to hear survivor Raoul Meekcoms share his story. Rescued by his wife and kept alive with CPR, Raoul reminded us that lives can be saved every single day if only more people knew Hands-Only CPR.
We were joined by high school, middle school and college students who helped us demonstrate Hands-Only CPR. They trained legislators and their staff how to perform this simple and important this lifesaving skill.
Because you shared your stories of survival, rescue, care, and personal commitment, our message to the state’s decision-makers was clear: Heart disease and stroke affect too many Oregonians—and with their leadership in the Capitol, there’s much we can do to save lives.
I’ve posted photos from the day on our Facebook page, so please take a look. “Like” your favorites, tag yourself, and share with friends.
And if you missed this year’s Lobby Day, don’t worry. There will be a lot of opportunities to take action in the coming months. And we’ll need every single one of you along the way.
Thank you again for being part of the You’re the Cure team.