A weekly advocacy message from Mary Woolley: Today’s the day!

Mary Woolley
Dear Research Advocate,
There is still time to join us -- virtually -- at today’s sold-out Health Research Forum. WebMD is livestreaming the event, which will begin a little before noon EST at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Find details on the event HERE, and livestreaming info HERE. Follow and join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #RAForum15.
 
Also today, on the advocacy front, NDD United is sending a letter with 2,500+ signatories, Research!America among them, to members of Congress. The letter calls for an approach to sequestration relief that includes both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. NDD advocates will be on the Hill today handing out baseball caps with the logo: “Raise the Caps.” 
 
Attention-getting advocacy strategies like the baseball caps are important right now, as Congress decides whether to meet its responsibility to craft a real budget...or to punt.  While a short-term continuing resolution (CR) is virtually certain, the task advocates must be focused on right now is assuring that at the end of the day policymakers don’t resort to passing a year-long CR. We must all take advantage of the reprieve provided by a short-term CR to convince the Congress and the White House to negotiate a real budget deal that jettisons sequestration. The NDD Coalition’s Emily Holubowich and I were quoted in an NPR article yesterday about the sequestration fight, and you can bet this isn’t the last word from us or partner advocates. Use the hashtag #raisethecaps to get in on the action today.
 
Research!America’s own Eric Taylor approached presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Jim Gilmore at a rally in D.C. yesterday to ask them to weigh in on the national importance of medical research. He asked Donald Trump: “How would you make America great in medical research?” (No answer but he read our signs). Eric asked Ted Cruz: “Do you support medical research?” Answer: “Absolutely, and in fact we just held a hearing in the Commerce Committee that I chaired on that exact issue.” To Jim Gilmore: “How do you feel about medical research and innovation?” Answer: “I’m in favor of it. I supported it when I was Governor.” Two out of three responded -- and it was a rally about Iran, not health or research!  The point is that candidates should hear questions on our issue at every rally; every campaign stop. If they do, they will start talking about it without prompting. 
 
Approaching candidates at a rally-near-you is just one of the tactics of our 2016 national voter education initiative, which we are launching at today’s Forum. More details will be provided in next week’s letter; suffice it to say today that we are determined to translate the urgency of finding cures faster to a national conversation in the election. Join us!
 
Sincerely,
Mary Woolley

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The capabilities are enormous, a little bit of research can pay off quite a bit in the long run.
Paul D’ Addario, retinitis pigmentosa patient