U2FP’s Wisconsin CAN advocates kicked off the new year with a blitz of meetings in the state capitol last month. Our goal was to make our presence known as soon as the new session started and get as many co-sponsors as we could. We scheduled 20 meetings, but we actually ended up seeing almost 30 legislators by simply rolling our chairs into as many offices as possible.
Dan Hellenbrand, an SCI researcher who also has an injury, joined us and was able to explain his current research to key legislators, helping them understand how this bill would fast track his work. John Martinson, our longtime stalwart, stayed at the capitol after all other CAN advocates had left and was able to convince two more legislators to sign on as co-sponsors to our bill. Our passion was palpable, targeted and strategic.
The results are galvanizing: we now have 33 co-sponsors - 25 representatives (a quarter of the entire Assembly!) and 8 Senators - who have signed on in support of our $3M SCI Research Grant Bill. The bill has been officially introduced in both the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate. Finally, our bill has already been assigned to committees in both branches: Colleges and Universities in the Assembly, and Health in the Senate. Once we get a hearing in these committees (stay tuned for that), we’ll then progress to the Joint Finance Committee before the bill can be voted on.
Now’s the time to make our presence known to the members of these committees, so our Bill remains top of mind, gets a hearing scheduled, and moves forward towards a final vote.
Your phone calls and emails are why we’ve gotten this far. So keep contacting the below lawmakers, no matter what state or country you live in. When you contact these legislators, you can say something like this:
Dear [Representative or Senator Name Here],
My name is ____ ______, and I [have a spinal cord injury / am family/friend of someone with a spinal cord injury]. Please support our Spinal Cord Injury Research Grant Bill (AB19 / SB27).
This is a smart, efficient bill that would:
- Keep the funds in Wisconsin
- Allow SCI Community members like me to help decide what research gets funded
- Cap indirect costs at 8% (ie no bloated admin costs)
This legislation will get SCI research out of the lab and into people like [me/my family/friend]. We desperately need this bill to be heard and passed this session. Our community can’t wait!
Please contact the following WI Legislators - no matter where you live - and tell them to support the $3M SCI Research Grant program. If you do live in their district, be sure to mention that first in your message:
- Senator Mary Felzkowski (R - Irma)
(608) 266-2509 | Sen.Felzkowski@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Senator André Jacque (R - DePere)
(608) 266-3512 | Sen.Jacque@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Representative Amanda M. Nedweski (R - Pleasant Prairie)
(608) 237-9161 | Rep.Nedweski@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Representative Joy L. Goeben (R - Hobart)
(608) 237-9105 | Rep.Goeben@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Representative Scott L. Johnson (R - Jefferson)
(608) 237-9133 | Rep.Johnson@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Representative Mark Born (R - Beaver Dam)
(608) 237-9139 | Rep.Born@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Senator Howard Marklein (R - Spring Green)
(608) 266-0703 | Sen.Marklein@legis.wi.gov
- Representative Terry Katsma (R - Oostburg)
(608) 237-9126 | Rep.Katsma@legis.wisconsin.gov
- Senator Eric Wimberger (R - Green Bay)
(608) 266-5670 | Sen.Wimberger@legis.wisconsin.gov
It feels like the wind is shifting in our direction - and it’s due to our strategic advocacy efforts and your ongoing engagement. Let’s continue to keep raising our voices to ensure we pass this important piece of legislation as soon as possible!
PS - And stay tuned….we may have some good news on the horizon in Colorado.