New Mexico held a successful Advocating for Heart at the Roundhouse on January 30th. 16 advocates joined the American Heart Association Advocacy team for breakfast where they shared their Why and learned more about and advocated for Senate Bill 25 that would raise taxes on tobacco and other tobacco products by $1.50.
hero_image_alt_text===advocates sitting around table
thumbnail_alt_text===advocates stand with Senator Rue
Three Senators stopped by the training to speak with advocates including Sen. Howie Morales, Sen. Sander Rue and Sen. Cisco McSorley. All three spoke to the group about the importance of the bill and took a photo with advocates.
Following the advocacy training, advocates joined advocacy staff to hand out informational packets that included letters of support from our Albuquerque Board of Directors and other community organizations collected by Josh Martinez, Multicultural Initiatives Director, at the offices of Senators and Representatives and talk to the staff about the AHA’s support of SB 25. The group then headed to the Senate chamber to hear the Wear Red Memorial, where there was a great discussion on the floor by the highest ranking women senators including the majority whip and president pro tempore. A memorial was also read in the House chamber.
After the memorial was read, Poqueen took a group of volunteers to talk to the Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, who had been against the tax bill the previous week. However, when constituents Jimmy and Josh Martinez spoke with him that day, he said he would vote for it in committee! This is a great example of the impact advocates can have at the Capitol when we’re able to train them on the issues and connect them with their lawmaker. Our advocates also talked with two House members, Rep. Carl Trujillo and Rep. Debbie Rodella, who are both against the tax. The advocates didn’t get a yes, but the members told them that they would consider it.
Overall, the day was a great success and our advocates left feeling empowered and committed to AHA’s mission!