Thursday, December 2, 2010

Strategies for Reaching Congress in 2011

Percent of Members of 112th Congress On the Record by State

Your Candidates-Your Health - the award-winning voter education initiative - had more than 400 candidates on the record in 2010 for a total of 170 members of the 112th Congress on the record through Your Candidates-Your Health and its sister initiative, Your Congress-Your Health.

To conclude our 2010 Your Candidates-Your Health initiative, Research!America held a post-election analysis last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC.
Former Congressman and Research!America chair John Edward Porter, and Stacie Propst, PhD, Research!America vice president of science policy and outreach tackled tough questions facing research advocates, including one of the most pressing: what strategies will ensure research remains a funding priority in the 112th Congress?

"There’s never been a tougher environment for making research funding a priority. We have to plan how to convince the public and members of Congress that funding for research is a priority," Porter said.

In 1995, as chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for HHS and other agencies, Porter and leaders from business and science met with then-Speaker Newt Gingrich to spur the NIH budget doubling. An effective strategy Porter says should be applied again.

He then proposed several messages for advocacy now: the importance of research to the economy and patients, the importance of maintaining U.S. leadership in science, and the importance of setting priorities for our federal spending.

"It will take motivated, committed people in Washington and motivated, committed people at home" to make members of Congress understand that the foundation of America’s economy is science, technology, innovation and research, Porter said.

Porter encourages Research!America members to generate messages to Congress from their grassroots networks and scientists to become as vocal as patient-advocates—to reach out to local talk radio and newspaper editorial boards and to meet with their delegation’s district offices about the importance of research funding.

To make research for health a priority for the 112th Congress, the community must come together, share ideas, and make their unified voices heard on Capitol Hill. To join Porter and Research!America in this effort, send us your thoughts on messages and strategies for reaching out to Congress and the public in 2011, to advocacy at

Listen to a podcast from the event and review a PDF of the slides.

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