The 2013 North Dakota legislative session was an amazing, policy-packed four months for us. “We” succeeded in saving and improving lives through each and every policy priority in which we engaged: acute heart systems of care, newborn screenings for congenital heart defects, expanding stroke funding, CPR training in schools and Medicaid Expansion. Whew! And what made the difference was the “we” in the process.
For advocacy to be truly effective it should be a conversation with others, and not one-directional. As a result it helps to build relationships with others - in reaching out throughout North Dakota and engaging with organizations, people and groups. It helps to learn more about others - their work and their agendas. Given that North Dakotans are interconnected with so many others, collaborative advocacy helps to successfully navigate the changing external environment and access new opportunities.
The 2013 success of our You’re the Cure network, state advocacy committee and staff team is due to the ability to dive deep with our extended relationships. We demonstrated the knack for engaging with a wide range of personalities and challenges. AHA also demonstrated that we are good teammates and live the values of both our organization and our state.
More often than not, legislators contemplating a key vote are motivated by the work we do and how we do it. The stories we shared, the champions who stepped forward, and the partnerships we valued all added to our amazing success. “Thanks from the Heart” – to all who helped this session.