Above: Jason Stoffer, my colleague and fellow CAN Manager, using his wheelchair as a desk last month from his home in the Western Rockies. We were meeting with WI Senator Patrick Testin, who pledged support for our bill at the end of the meeting.
At the beginning of this year, I told you about how our Wisconsin CAN advocates were able to melt the iceberg of opposition and get our $3M SCI Research Grant bill introduced in the Assembly with bi-partisan support. This was a great start to the year, despite a short timetable for getting the bill heard.
But our CAN advocates and SCI community members across the country raised their voices, and we made some significant progress over the next few months, including getting a Senate version of our bill introduced, and then securing a public hearing in the committee on Colleges and Universities.
In April of this year, our CAN advocates showed up and gave moving, evidenced-based testimony for what our proposed legislation could do. You can watch their full testimony here, or read it here.
That testimony gave us more visibility in the Wisconsin legislature and helped keep momentum behind our effort, even as last year’s session ended. Our CAN advocates have remained diligent, and we’ve maintained and strengthened our relationships in the Wisconsin legislature through last month's midterm elections. And it’s paying off.
We’re back in full swing and have confirmed the support of even more legislators, with several of them volunteering to sign on as co-sponsors of our bill, which is slated to be introduced again in January. We also have a good chance of making it into the Governor’s budget in February. This means we have two separate, possible paths to success!
But we’re not taking anything for granted. We are going to roll up on the Wisconsin Capitol in January, taking meetings with key legislators, solidifying our strong position, and making our presence known. (If you’re available to join us on January 10-12, 2023 - send me an email).
Below is a list of some key legislators we hope to meet and secure as co-sponsors. Please contact them and ask them to co-sponsor our bill (AB873/SB1010) - no matter where you live! Then, check and see if you, your friends or family members live in their districts. Constituents can exert lots of influence on their representatives. Here are the key people to contact:
- Rep. Robin Vos - District 63
(608) 266-9171 | Rep.Vos@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Rep. Tyler August - District 32
(608) 266-1190 | Rep.August@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Senator Cory Tomczyk - District 29
firstname.lastname@example.org (newly elected to Senate)
- Senator Jesse James - District 23
email@example.com (newly elected to Senate)
- Senator Eric Wimberger - District 30
(608) 266-5670 | Sen.Wimberger@legis.wisconsin.gov
Finally, I want to be direct: U2FP couldn’t do this important work without your financial support. There are no grants available for legislative advocacy like this. But the potential benefits are exponential.
Consider that some of the exciting work in spinal cord stimulation is a direct result of the SCI research grant bill we passed in Minnesota a few years ago. Our success has depended on your generous donations, especially monthly donors, Team U2FP fundraisers, and yes, those who make a year-end gift to U2FP. Please consider supporting our vital work.
U2FP’s Cure Advocacy Network does more than just send state dollars to SCI researchers. It puts the SCI community at the decision-making table, allowing those who are injured to serve on the advisory boards that prioritize what projects get funded. And as our network of state legislative funding grows, we’re seeing more opportunities for exciting collaborations and partnerships that could lead to better, faster interventions for those of us with an SCI.