The Importance of Becoming an STS Key Contact
STS News, Spring 2012 -- STS Key Contacts have a direct impact on legislative issues that affect cardiothoracic surgeons. With support from STS Government Relations staff, key contacts set up meetings with their representatives and senators in Washington, DC, and at their home offices. Also, the STS Government Relations staff prepares Key Contacts to discuss legislative issues that affect their ability to provide the highest quality care to their patients.
You are encouraged to become an STS Key Contact; the specialty’s need for this level of engagement from its members has never been greater. As an STS Key Contact, you will be making a commitment to do at least one of the following during the year:
- Travel to Washington, DC and Meet With Legislators
STS will offer a series of Washington, DC “fly-ins” as an opportunity for STS members to receive a briefing on important policy developments, and meet with members of Congress. Face-to-face visits are an important step toward building a meaningful relationship with a member of Congress.
- Meet With Your Legislators in Their Home Offices
Many people forget that their members of Congress spend much of their time in their home districts, listening to their constituents’ concerns. In fact, Congress is generally in session Tuesday through Thursday during the week to allow members the time to travel back home. The STS staff can help you arrange and prepare for a meeting at your representative and senators’ local offices.
- Attend a Local Town Hall Meeting
After rancorous town hall meetings across the country during debates over health care reform, many feel that these meetings are just too political. In fact, you can make a very positive impression at a town hall meeting if you are prepared with a rational question and a reasonable argument to defend your position. Your issues may get more attention than you might expect because the member of Congress will appreciate having a meaningful conversation with a constituent.
- Host a Facility or Practice Tour
Another way to build relationships with your members of Congress is to invite them to visit your place of work. Site visits are great ways to help a member of Congress get to know you. In addition, once he or she has firsthand knowledge of the potential challenges you have explained, it will be more difficult to ignore your request for help.
- Host or Co-Host an Event
Of course, a large part of a politician’s job is making sure that he or she continues to have a job in the future; raising money and campaigning are a necessity. Once you have developed a relationship with your member of Congress, you may decide to support him or her in an upcoming election by hosting a fundraising event. STS Government Relations staff can help you plan such an event.
- Contribute to STS-PAC
U.S. members of the Society can contribute to STS-PAC, which supports election campaigns of candidates running for Congress. Cultivating relationships with elected officials who understand and support CT surgery issues helps STS to be a part of important policy debates. For more information about STS-PAC, please visit www.sts.org/advocacy/get-involved/pac.
In return for their commitment to STS advocacy, STS Key Contacts receive invitations to participate in an advocacy training webinar hosted by STS Staff featuring invited guests, incentives to attend at least one Washington, DC fly-in, and e-mail updates containing information on local town hall meetings and activity updates and highlights from fellow Key Contacts.
To sign up to be a Key Contact, view more information on becoming a successful advocate for your specialty, or review the STS Advocacy Manual, please visit www.sts.org/advocacy or contact advocacy [at] sts [dot] org.