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Public Policy Congress: 2012 PEAK Leadership Summit

by Published On: May 07, 2012

On April 22, 2012, the LeadingAge Public Policy Congress met for the 2nd time since the change from the House of Delegates. 

The Public Policy Congress, which represents the membership and exercises leadership in identifying public policy priorities, serves as the deliberative body of LeadingAge with the responsibility to discuss and recommend public policy principles to the LeadingAge Board of Directors for approval.

What happened at the meeting?

Audrey Weiner, our Policy Congress chair, and chair of the LeadingAge Board of Directors, opened the meeting by reviewing the charge to the Policy Congress members and acknowledging the critical role that each member plays in this new process.

Weiner noted that, while different from the House of Delegates, which focused on current issues and legislations, the LeadingAge Public Policy Congress will be forward-looking and tasked with developing policy principles that will guide the organization and its advocacy work for future years.

John Rother, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Health Care and the former policy director for AARP, lead the Public Policy Congress through a discussion addressing our current environment and challenges for health care policy.

Rother reminded us to “think big, as the usual complaints won’t get us where we need to go.” In looking at our Policy Congress process, he suggested that this is a continuous feedback cycle and that we need to closely listen to our constituency that includes not only the seniors and the families we serve, but also the staff who provide the care.

What are the 6 advocacy essential elements?

Rother summarized the important work of advocacy into 6 essential elements:

  1. Ensure we are all “on message” and on the same policy page.
  2. Develop champions that include media, caregivers and legislators.
  3. Create a personal face to the message.
  4. Mobilize caregivers.
  5. Utilize hometown Member visits – cultivate congressional staff relationships.
  6. Use media well with message consistency.

He closed with sharing, “You are all my heroes. This organization has an important mission and role. Godspeed.”

What is next for the LeadingAge Public Policy Congress?

Over the next few weeks the  LeadingAge Public Policy Congress will identify key policy principles that come out of topic discussions. These will be shared, in the form of a short white paper, with the Board of Directors for approval and then back out to our LeadingAge members, the state associations and the state association boards, and will be used by the LeadingAge staff to create the specific policy objectives for the upcoming Congress.


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