Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trip to the White House

On this Inauguration MLK day, I thought it would be appropriate to do some catch up and write about my trip last month to the White House.  If you are friends with me on FB you may have noticed that in December I had the privileged of being invited to the White House with Nala to advocate for adoption of stronger air pollution standards.  I'm happy to say that Obama signed the new standards into law Dec 14th, and although it's not a big change (97% of counties around the US already meet the standard), it will deter new industry from adding pollution into the air.  The rule centers around soot, which is a blanket term for harmful fine particulate matter that is heavily linked to asthma and other lung conditions.  

Visiting the White House was a really cool experience and I'm so glad I was able to bring Nala along.  In a world where I'm always feeling powerless against the political forces at hand, it was nice to get an ear of someone responsible for the direction of the policies.  I went with Mom's Rising, a political advocacy group that has lots of access with this administration.  We were given a solid 20 minutes of face time with Obama policy advisers for three different sectors.  They sat us down in a fancy room in the West Wing, at a big long table.  They were very friendly and expressed how grateful they were to have us there.  They like to be pressured by real people and to hear stories from moms because it gives them ammo when dealing with larger corp interests.  When I spoke, I focused on the cost of asthma to the greater health care pool and the cost to productivity of society (asthma is the #1 reason why kids miss school), and when a kid misses school a parent also needs to miss work.  Asthmatic attacks also land kids and adults in the emergency room, sometimes for days to a week.  These stays and the medications all accumulate costs in the insurance and medicare pool, making insurance and medicare more expensive for everyone else.  After the White House, most of the moms went on to the Hill to lobby congress on Fiscal Cliff stuff with babies in hand.

I felt really lucky to participate and advocate at the White House for this issue that's important to me.

Approaching 20yrs of FMLA it's amazing to me how far moms and America has come, where now it is perfectly acceptable to nurse a baby in the middle of a meeting at the White House. Go US!

We delivered soot sprites, a cute way to illustrate the point.

That's my girl

In front of the West Wing


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