Today, we had the privilege of hosting the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities' Fall Legislative Forum. INARF is Rauch's trade association, and is celebrating their 40th year of service to our industry this year.
We began the morning with a discussion of the upcoming elections, 2015 Indiana General Assembly, and the INARF/Arc of Indiana Joint Legislative Agenda. Senator Ron Grooms (R, District 46) and Representative Ed Clere (R, District 72) joined us for a briefing on the issues from their perspective and lunch. Representative Clere encouraged parents, caregivers, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), and other stakeholders to be directly involved in communicating with their legislators. To have a better chance of being heard, he shared that the best time to be heard is to do so outside of session, which is now (and especially after the upcoming election) through December.
The afternoon session included a background and history of INARF and an overview of tools and resources they have available for our industry, ways to get involved, and how to advocate. They provided some helpful suggestions to go along with those offered by our legislators:
When calling your legislator:
- Focus on one issue per call
- Ask the legislator's position
- If you agree, let them know and thank them
- If your position differs, politely offer information supporting your views
- Avoid emotional arguments - be positive!
When e-mailing your legislator:
- Rather than forward a message from another entity, formulate your own message based on those points, adding your personal experience
- Be positive and respectful
- Be specific and brief (refer to the bill number)
Thank you to all who were involved today. We had great representation from other disability-service organizations such as New Hope Services, New Horizons, Kaiser Home Health, Developmental Services (DSI), and others. We are especially grateful to INARF for visiting us in our service area and our legislators for taking time out of their busy pre-election schedules to talk about the issues that are so important to us and those we serve.