Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 9

E

ven if you have seen the musical Hamilton you still
might have missed the modern day message on political
advocacy imbedded in one of the more intriguing songs of
the second act. Focused on a private dinner hosted by Secretary
of State Thomas Jefferson at his home in New York City on June
20, 1790, "The Room Where It Happens" relates the story of the
"Great Compromise of 1790." When the dinner was over there
was agreement that the new federal government would assume
the individual states' Revolutionary War debt, a critical element
of the strong federal financial system sought by Treasury Secretary
Alexander Hamilton. In exchange, Jefferson and Virginia
Congressman James Madison won their fight to move the nation's
capital from New York City to the south in a "district" created along
the Maryland-Virginia border. The "deal" was agreed over that
dinner.
As the lyrics relate, the only people in the room for the dinner
when the agreement was reached were Hamilton, Jefferson and
Madison. They consummated the deal and then organized the
votes in Congress to enact the necessary legislation. As many
inexperienced political operatives discover too late, "being in the
room" when key decisions are made is a tenet of successful political
advocacy that has long survived the dinner Jefferson hosted. Getting
your legislative colleagues to "go along" and vote for the agreement
isn't always easy, but agreement on the elements of that deal are the
most critical piece.
For associations, political advocacy is always a key component
of the services valued by their members. Combining the work of
their professional staff with the energy and passion of their members
is a time tested means to connect with policy makers on key issues,
support or oppose important legislation and have an impact on
Election Day. The association is primed to report Election Day wins
and the roll call votes by legislative bodies that sustain the position
advocated by the association. Communicating those wins drives the
membership campaign, as it should.
As represented in the "The Room Where It Happens," the ultimate
in advocacy is a higher level where the critical achievement is to have
a committed advocate in the room where and when the important
decisions are made. And in case you were wondering, the principle
holds true at every level of government. Whether it is local, state
or federal, the key to successful advocacy is the well placed "friend"
who will advocate for your profession's views when the critical policy
decisions are made.
The reality is that anyone not intimately familiar with the
political process could walk the halls of the capitol endlessly
and never stumble upon that "room" where it happens when
it is happening. And even if the political process is seemingly
transparent, with meetings announced in advance and conducted
in a public setting, you can almost be sure that the room where it
happened was somewhere else.
Fortunately there are two significant factors that hold the
key to your association's presence in the room. Active, informed
and dedicated association members are the first. They establish
relationships with policy makers, share the views of the profession

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and then stay engaged even as issues are resolved and new topics
emerge. There's no question that it takes time and dedication on
their part to become effective advocates. There's also no doubt that
policy makers value their input on the crucial issues. The key is to
stay informed and engaged, even when a few votes go the wrong
way. A strong association member advocate is invaluable.
The second factor is part of what you pay for when you join an
association: government relations professionals who lobby on your
behalf. The most qualified among them know your association's
issues and priorities and blend that knowledge with their experience
in the legislative process. They can "read" legislative developments
and guide the association's leadership in policy decision making.
And very often, their most invaluable service is to serve as the
connection between the association member advocate and the
political "friend" who will work with you on the issue.
Being in the room where it happens isn't a guarantee of a
successful advocacy initiative, but it definitely increases your odds.
Larry L. Light
PAMED Federal Affairs Consultant
lighthouselobby@gmail.com

WINTER 2018

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9


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Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18

Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 1
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 2
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 3
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 4
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 5
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 6
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 7
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 8
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 9
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 10
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 11
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 12
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 13
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 14
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 15
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 16
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 17
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 18
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 19
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 20
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 21
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 22
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 23
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 24
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 25
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 26
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 27
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 28
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 29
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 30
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 31
Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Winter 2017-18 - 32
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