On Wednesday, March 6th, 2013, volunteer advocates and staff converged in Sacramento for the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual Advocacy Day. Travelling from near and far, over 160 purple sash-wearing individuals gathered on the West Steps of the State Capitol to meet fellow attendees, learn about important state issues, and visit members of the Legislature.
Attendees were welcomed to the Capitol by Assembly Member Anthony Rendon. They also had the opportunity to hear Assembly Member Diane Harkey’s thoughts on how to have a productive meeting with a legislator.
The remainder of the morning was spent educating attendees on the two ‘asks’ of the day. This year’s event focused on:
- California’s Dual Eligible Project, specifically addressing recommendations for the project as it pertains to Californians living with Alzheimer’s disease; and
- AB 394 – sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association – which would extend the Alzheimer ’s Disease and Related Disorders State Income Tax Check-Off from January 1, 2015, to January 1, 2020.
After a question and answer session, advocates turned their attention to Assembly Members Mariko Yamada and Shannon Grove, the two coauthors of AB 394. After sharing their own personal connection to Alzheimer’s disease, they thanked all in attendance for making the trip to Sacramento.
Advocates spent their lunch hour reviewing their talking points and strategizing for their meetings. That afternoon, they visited every legislative office in the building to educate and advocate for these important issues.
By the day’s end, our volunteers had succeeded in gathering 11 signed co-author request forms for AB 394, and a number of visit report forms indicated members and/or staff were interested in furthering the discussion regarding the duals demonstration.
While it was certainly a long day for all who traveled and attended, the energy and passion of volunteers never ceases to amaze me. I thank all who were able to attend, and look forward to continued work on these issues.
Theresa M. Renken
State Public Policy Director