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“Warren Advocates Visit Their Legislator”

Rachel Freund wrote this for the PMHCA Observer released in June 2008.   My friend, Mary Jo, Certified Peer Specialist, and myself (Jenn, C/FST for Warren and Forest Counties employeed by Recovery Services) were the foks who attended the meeting with Rep. Kathy Rapp. I share this on here, not only for the obvious bragging rights to say that I was there, but more importantly to hopefully encourage folks to get to know who their state representatives are and what their stance is on various issues that effect not only each of us individually but also everyone collectively from the local community on up to the state and beyond that to our country.  I was surprised at how easy Rep. Kathy Rapp was to talk to, once we got started.  I was terrified at first thinking things like, ‘ok this is someone with a lot more power then I have and they probably won’t want to hear from me’  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I found that speaking with Rep. Kathy Rapp, was no different then speaking to any other professional I might cross paths with.  So, for those who might feel intimidated by the idea of talking to your representative, don’t be, they generally want to know wat the folks who they work for have to say about the job they are doing.  Letting them know you appreciate the work they do on your behalf is always a good thing but if you truely don’t agree with something they stand for let them know that as well.  They need to hear the good, the bad and the ugly’ so to speak in regards to how folks think they are doing their job.  After all, they work for us as citizens and wouldn’t be in the position they are n if we hadn’t voted them into office.

To view the complete June 2008 issue of the PMHCA Observer, click here

Warren Advocates Visit Their Legislator

On May 27, 2008 two skilled advocates from Warren, PA, Jenn and Mary Jo,

along with PMHCA staffer, Rachel Freund, met with PA House Member,

Kathy Rapp, of the 65th District.

The goal of the visit for Jenn and Mary Jo was to begin building a relationship

with their legislator. Jenn reported, “Mary Jo and I thought the meeting with

Representative Kathy Rapp was enlightening and very productive. We feel that

folks would be happy to learn about how supportive she is of the mental

health community.”

The Warren advocates wore their black “Living on $60 is No Joke” shirts and

made a good case for Representative Rapp supporting House Bill 2253, the bill

to raise the $60 personal needs allowance. “I support these efforts”, Rep. Rapp responded.

They also discussed tough issues facing the mental health community such as the need for more housing and community supports, especially in rural counties like Warren. “My concern is for people who aren’t getting what they require because of a lack of resources,” reported Rep. Rapp. “I work for the citizens of this district and I intend to make sure we that can provide what people need.”

Here are some tips for arranging a visit with your legislator:

  1. First, find out who represents you. Call TOLL FREE to Project Vote Smart: 1-888-VOTE-SMART (1-888-868-3762) – a real live person will help you figure out who your legislator is!
  2. Do your homework. Learn about their interests, their committees and their responsibilities. You can stop by their office and ask a staffer to help you find out about them.
  3. Arrange a visit. Be sure to make arrangements in advance with their staff. Plan a meeting that will last about 30 minutes.
  4. Prepare in advance. Have just one or two points you want to discuss. If you go as a group, be clear who will say what (practice ahead of time!). Be clear about what you are asking your legislator to do.

Congratulations to our friends in Warren who are working hard at advocacy in their community!

If you would like to invite YOUR legislator for a visit, we can help! Contact Rachel at 412-621-4706 x. 22 or at rfreund@verizon.net

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