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Texas advocates embarked on an epic road trip in August of 2016, traveling across our big state in search of Congressional supporters and cosponsors, and thanking others for their decision to support our federal level advocacy priorities in the 114th Congress. During the trip we kicked off our boots and met with:

Congressman Marc Veasey – Ft. Worth (July 21). Meeting with the Congressman were volunteers Tara Robinson, Denise Smith Ladd, and LaShanda A. Davis, accompanied by staff member Aschelle Morgan.

Congressman Blake Farenthold – Corpus Christi (July 28). Meeting with the member was volunteer Carol Scott, along with staff Erin Wilder (Corpus Christi Executive Director) and Advocacy Team member Kaitlyn Murphy.

Congressman Sam Johnson – Plano (August 11). Meeting with Congressman Johnson’s staff were volunteers LaVera Caston, Beatriz Champagne, Towry Barnard, and Elaine Bullard. They were accompanied by Grassroots Director, Victoria Nelson.

  

Congressman Joe Barton – Arlington (August 17). We met with staff from Representative Barton’s district office, alongside volunteers Connie Kerr and Ruma Brown. Victoria Nelson also tagged along for this one.

 

Congressman John Carter – Round Rock (August 25). We met with the Congressman in this meeting, and included volunteers Andy Martinez, JJ Parker and Jeff Parker. They brought along AHA Local Policy Manager, Kelsey Bernstein.

Congressman Beto O’Rourke – El Paso (August 26). We wrapped up our Texas road trip with another member meeting with Congressman O’Rourke. Volunteer Annette, Torres joined Voices For Healthy Kids Campaign Director, Christopher Walker.

  

 Thank you to You're the Cure advocates who joined us on this epic #RoadTripwithHeart! Check out the recap video below:

(Please visit the site to view this video)

Meet Jenni Isenhower, Minnesota's Heart Walk Coordinator!

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What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

I was first drawn to the American Heart Association because it seemed to have its hand in a lot of different things. I’ve learned that the American Heart Association is not just trying to cure heart disease, they are raising funds, providing resources to survivors and caregivers, encouraging healthier lifestyles, and researching new ways to prevent, detect and treat cardiovascular disease and stroke. As well as educating lawmakers, policymakers and the public to advocate for changes to protect and improve the health of our communities. Being an advocate for something that is so needed is why I’ve stayed.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

I grew up in a very small town surrounded by corn fields so I am passionate about Systems of Care. Often, a lot of the System of Care legislative / doctor talk goes over my head. However, I know that statistics show that minutes matter and can drastically change the outcomes for victims of a STEMI Heart Attack. I love the idea that anyone in the state of Minnesota, even those who are surrounded by corn fields, will get the fastest and best care, anywhere in the state. “Where you live, should not determine IF you live.”

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Attending the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Day at the Capitol has been my favorite experience so far. It was astounding to see all of the people gathered together to be the voice for tiny humans to make a difference in their lives and the lives of future generations.

What is your favorite way to be active?

Anything that involves a new adventure… biking, hiking, kayaking, climbing, snowboarding, twirling!

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Watermelon

Our 2016-17 Louisiana Advocacy Committee recently named Tamara Sabine, of Baton Rouge, to lead the committee this year. Tamara served on the state advocacy committee last year, and has been an active volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA) for 10+ years. She looks forward to stepping in this leadership role.

Occupation: Federal and State Grants Coordinator, Office of the Mayor-President, City of Baton Rouge

How long have you been a volunteer with the AHA and in what capacity?  More than 10 years on the Louisiana Advocacy Committee

Who or what inspires you to help and volunteer your time to the work of the AHA?  My children – A.J. (15), Lauren (13) and Oliver (10). I first started volunteering with the AHA when asked by Terri Broussard, Government Relations Director at the time, to assist in the smoke-free air campaign to advocate for tobacco-free zones in public buildings, including restaurants. I’ve always chosen restaurants that are non-smoking, or have well contained smoking areas to take my family to. I want my children to grow up in clean air, not around smoke because I know the dangers of secondhand smoke on children.

What heart-healthy issue is most important to you and why?  Healthy eating. Too often families choose foods based on cost – how cheap it is – and not on how nutritious it is. So, children and adults don’t get enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and get too much of fats, sugars and chemicals. I strive to feed my family as many fruits, vegetables and lean meats as I can afford, and I truly understand how difficult that can be for families, but it has to be done – or our children will have to deal with obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

What are two ways you keep yourself healthy?  I eat the healthiest diet I can – lots of fruits and vegetables every day and I try to walk every evening for 30 minutes.

How is your community healthy that makes you proud?  My community is working on getting healthy. There is the bike/walking path on the levee, the Red Stick Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, more restaurants & public areas in Baton Rouge are smoke free due to AHA’s efforts with the legislature.

How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state?  I read the AHA emails that are sent out and respond as needed.

If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why?  That’s a good question. I’d say more bike/pedestrian-friendly walkways, or more support for healthier school lunches. It’s gotten a little better, but there’s still room for improvement.

Do you have a favorite AHA/ASA event you annually attend?  What is your motivation to participate?  I love the Go Red For Women event, and attend when I receive enough notice. I don’t mind fundraising for the AHA, but I need more notice than to hear about the event on the news the morning of the event. I also enjoy attending Lobby Day at the legislature, when my schedule allows.

Have you attended a state or federal lobby day on behalf of the AHA?  If so, please briefly explain your experience.  Yes, I have attended the state lobby day numerous times, I enjoy being able to chat with legislators about what’s needed in regards to tobacco-free living, healthy meals for kids and first aid needs in the state. I have not attended a federal lobby day, but welcome the opportunity to.

What have you learned in your time being a You’re the Cure advocate?  If everyone pitches in, and does one little thing, we can change our city, our state, our nation, our world. I truly believe that.

Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You’re the Cure?  I would tell them to join You’re the Cure to stay abreast of what’s going on in the legislature and in Congress regarding health-related issues, because heart disease and other health issues eventually affect us all.

Tell us one unique thing about yourself.  I’ve lived in Baton Rouge all of my life, but was born on a military base.