Report on the April 28 Statewide Meeting in Albuquerque
Executive Committee chair Max Bartlett and Executive Committee member Maury Castro opened the meeting, which was packed with supporters from around the state.
Attendees appreciated morning appearances by several candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, all of whom expressed their support for Health Security.
Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke in the early morning, and Jackie Apodaca and other representatives from Jeff Apodaca's campaign were introduced a little later in the day. Candidate for lieutenant governor Sen. Howie Morales, who (along with Sen. Carlos Cisneros) sponsored the Health Security Act in the Senate, addressed the crowd in the morning, as did Rick Miera, who is also running for lieutenant governor.
While the Campaign is a nonpartisan organization and does not get involved in campaigns for political office, we welcome candidates' support for the Health Security Act. We're excited to see that Health Security is an important issue for these candidates!
Our first scheduled speaker was Rev. David Rogers of First Christian Church in Carlsbad, who urged attendees to take action and to get involved to make Health Security happen.
Next up was a discussion of the Campaign's unique strategy, with Max Bartlett, Executive Committee Chair; Mary Feldblum, Executive Director; and Dana Millen, Education and Outreach Coordinator.
They emphasized that the Health Security Act has been developed over many years by listening to New Mexicans across the state and by coming up with solutions to the problems they raised regarding setting up our own health care plan. Dana also noted that few people know that we worked with Sen. Jeff Bingaman to ensure that the Affordable Care Act included waivers for state innovation, an important provision that is still in place today.
Rep. Debbie Armstrong, who (along with Rep. Bobby Gonzales) sponsored the Health Security Act in the House in 2017 and plans to do so again in 2019, then took the microphone--we actually had a sound system this time!--to talk about the path to Health Security.
She emphasized that even after passage, Health Security will take time to implement, and she noted that there are interim solutions being proposed--like a Medicaid buy-in option--that could help people in the meantime.
After Rep. Armstrong spoke, Rep. Gail Chasey, Sen. Bill Soules, and Sen. Liz Stefanics joined her for a panel discussion on the importance of talking to candidates about Health Security and letting them know why you personally support it--tell your story! In addition to talking to candidates, they noted that a good way to spread the word about Health Security is through the groups and organizations that you belong to. There was also time for the audience to ask panel members questions.
In the afternoon, a panel of experienced Health Security supporters and organizers gave their advice, and meeting participants had another chance to ask questions and offer suggestions.
Some ideas from attendees:
- Create a "speakers bureau" of people who are able to present on and speak knowledgeably about Health Security
- Set up meetings/presentations to and with a variety of groups
- Get the word out through tabling at other events
- Develop a brochure and/or other brief materials that supporters can download from the website and hand out to interested individuals (We're working on this!) [UPDATE: click here for a quarter-page handout.]
Everyone who came to the statewide meeting left with a personal list of actions they are going to take to help get Health Security passed in 2019. (Thank you, everyone!)
If you weren't able to attend the meeting, here are some ideas. Let us know what you're able to do to help!