PARA spends a week on Capitol Hill

On Sunday, May 14 2000, PARA's Co-Executive Directors, Karen Meyer and Cheryl Miller, arrived in Washington, DC, to lobby Congress for support of the funding proposal submitted in February 2000 by PARA to the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees.

Coincidentally, May 14 was Mother's Day and the day of the Million Mom March in Washington, DC, where 500,000 moms marched for gun control legislation. There was widespread publicity for that event, but the PARA moms got no publicity as they arrived on "The Hill." Yet, the cause they are fighting for is monumentally important: working to save our children from the scourge of Crohn's disease and getting dollars appropriated for much needed research to cure the sick and suffering.

The week proved to be an extremely productive one!

Highlights of the week included

  • Successfully getting language included in the Senate Bill in support of the funding request. (We feel certain that letters from PARA members/public in general were greatly responsible for influencing inclusion of the language).

  • Successfully getting language included in the House Bill in support of the funding request.

  • Gaining support of many members of Congress for the language directing NIH and CDC to conduct research. Additionally, many who personally met with PARA's delegation made a commitment to investigate the food safety situation. Many are extremely concerned about the potential public health threat posed by MAP-contaminated food products.

  • Meetings were held with two members of the House of Representatives, in addition to nearly 20 Legislative Aides of both Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen.

  • PARA obtained a letter of support from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) to support the NIH research targeted in the NIAID Research Recommendations.

Karen and Cheryl would like to personally and on behalf of PARA publicly thank the members of Congress and their staff for the warm reception they received by nearly every office they visited. It is very encouraging to know that our elected officials respond to the public so favorably.

Karen stated: "We were told by many people 'in the know' that if we made just one ally in Congress, that our fight would be much easier and we should consider our trip a success. Indeed, we feel certain we have gained the support of as many as ten members of Congress, including several ranking members of some important committees. And this is only our first trip, the first of many more to come!"

Summing up the week's events, Cheryl said: "This week was truly exhilarating. It has been most rewarding to know that our efforts of the past years are finally coming to fruition. It has been a long road, but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel."

Source:   Contact PARA:
Paratuberculosis Awareness & Research Association, 1999-2003.