Guest blogger: Sarah Higginbotham, Oregon Government Relations Director
On Tuesday March 3, AHA advocates filled the halls of Oregon’s State Capitol to share their stories and ensure that decision-makers heard about our priorities during AHA’s Oregon Lobby Day.
As Dr. Cleveland, AHA Advocacy Chair, shared with everyone that day: “Advocacy is good for us.” And advocating for policies to keep Oregon healthy and safe, means our actions are good for everyone else too.
Just how big was Tuesday?
I couldn’t be more excited to say “thank you” 76 times today—to each and every nurse, firefighter, doctor, survivor, student, mom, sister, brother, father, and friend—who showed up and spoke up.
Thanks to our 76 advocates we held lobby meetings with over one-third of the legislature, educating and advocating on our top policy priorities.
And today, we’re 76 steps closer to passing policies for a healthier Oregon—an Oregon where every Oregonian is trained in school to save a life with CPR, where kids can learn and grow in healthy school environments, and where tobacco is no longer the number one preventable cause of death.
It was a busy at the Oregon Capitol and AHA advocates accomplished a lot—take a look:
- Face time with decision makers: Advocates lobbied over one-third of Oregon’s legislative offices, meeting face-to-face with 23 legislators and 12 staffers. Decision-makers heard about our three priorities: requiring all Oregon students to be CPR trained before graduating; eliminating junk food marketing from schools; and increased funding for Oregon’s tobacco prevention and cessation program.
- 60 new lifesavers: High school students hit the hallways, training over 60 legislative staffers in Hands-Only CPR.
- 1,000 Beats to Save a Life: 45 students took to the Capitol rotunda, working together to perform 10 straight minutes of CPR, demonstrating just how simple the steps are to save a life.
- Special advocates recognized: AHA recognized two special advocates for their dedicated and ongoing efforts to support CPR training in all of Oregon’s schools: Josh Moore, firefighter with Eugene Springfield Fire & Rescue, and Raoul Meekcoms, a sudden cardiac arrest survivor with a powerful story he’s not afraid to tell. (Click on their names to read more about their inspiring work.)
- Student shout outs: North Salem High School, South Salem High School, and Valley Catholic Middle School were recognized by Rep. Brian Clem, Rep. Ken Helm and Senate President Peter Courtney on the House and Senate Floors.
- Proud of our partners: Three organizations who partner with the AHA in Oregon on advocacy efforts spoke on a panel, sharing with advocates their expertise and experience: Upstream Public Health, Voices for Healthy Kids, and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.
- Guest speakers: State Representative Ken Helm spoke to advocates and shared his personal perspective on what learning CPR has meant for his son; Dr. Minot Cleveland, AHA’s Oregon Advocacy Chair, reminded us why advocacy is good for us and why he never gives up; and Eric Batch, Vice President of Advocacy for the Western States Affiliate, on how Oregon can lead the way.
- Photos, Hashtags, Videos, Oh My: Here’s a video starring advocates with some quick highlights: AHA Oregon Lobby Day Video. (And view the photo album here: Lobby Day photos.)
Our heartfelt thanks from the advocacy team goes out to all of our volunteers who work year round to support the work of the American Heart Association.