ChesterCountyMedicineSpring2019 - 28

Meeting Great Expectations
or Great Expectations
for your Legislative Meeting


he first months of 2019 have been filled with an unusually
high level of political activity for a year in which only
municipal elections are normally held. Generally it is
a time period when first term legislators, newly elected caucus
leaders and first time committee chairs are settling into their
comfort zone. However, the winter and spring months of this year
have instead seen an escalation of political intensity as a series of
seven special elections were held to fill seven vacant legislative seats
in districts across the Commonwealth.

The result of each special election is considered an important
factor in measuring the potential for a shift in the balance of
political power for the respective chambers, so to the party leaders
and political analysts these are critically important. Words like
momentum and karma are regularly mentioned.

After the May 21st date of the Pennsylvania primary election,
3 new State Representatives, 3 new State Senators and 1 new
Congressman will have been selected and will be sworn into office.
And in typical Pennsylvania political fashion of late, the reasons for
several of the special elections are noteworthy. The Congressional
seat of Tom Marino was vacant due to his resignation for personal
reasons, while State Senators Rich Alloway and Don White
resigned for the same reason. The third State Senate special
election was required when Guy Reschenthaler was elected to the
Congress. Things were somewhat different in the House. Special
elections there were held to fill the seats of two members facing
legal issues, Brian Ellis and Vanessa Lowery-Brown. There was also
a need to replace Representative Sid Michaels Kavulich who died
before the 2018 General Election but was none the less re-elected
to his House seat posthumously.

Legislators at every level react to the stimuli around them and
they are especially interested in hearing from their constituents.
Physicians who provide health care to their constituents and who
live in their district are uniquely positioned to influence health
care public policy. Generally their views are both sought after
and respected. A legislative "district" meeting is the best way to
achieve that effect.

28 CHESTER COUNT Y Medicine | SPRING 2019

With those special elections in the background, Pennsylvania
physicians have never had a better time to meet with their own
state and federal legislators and begin the process of building a
productive advocacy relationship.

Legislators at both the state and federal levels soon discover
that voting on legislation and enacting new laws are not the most
critical elements of their job. In fact, the days they spend either in
Harrisburg or Washington, DC are likely their least productive. In
comparison, a day spent meeting with constituents in their district
can pay significant political dividends. So while they may not
eagerly anticipate a full schedule of constituent meetings, they do
understand the inherent value of learning which issues are on their
constituents' minds.


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