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Will you advocate for stroke victims?

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association will be holding our first ever Stroke Awareness Advocacy Day in Albany on May 27th to raise awareness of stroke.  ASA will set-up meetings and provide a training for all.  Participants will then meet with lawmakers and staff to discuss:

  • Stroke Incidence and Mortality
  • Stroke Disparities
  • Stroke Warning Signs and Treatment                   

If you would like to attend, register here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/T6GGPZX

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New Leadership in Albany

This week we saw a major shift in leadership at the state's Capitol. Senator Dean Skelos stepped down as New York State Senate Majority Leader amidst rising pressure from lawmakers and good government groups.

New York State Senator John Flanagan was selected by his colleagues as the new Senate Majority Leader.  Senator Flanagan was first elected to represent part of Suffolk County in 2002.  Prior to serving in the Senate, he served for 16 years in the New York State Assembly.  The American Heart Association worked closely with Senator Flanagan in our efforts to get students trained in CPR prior to graduation.  And we look forward to working with him to combat heart disease and stroke, the state's No. 1 and No. 5 killer of New Yorkers.

Please join us in welcoming Senator Flanagan to his new position and ask him to help in the fight against heart disease and stroke by clicking below:

http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=36732

 

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#StepUp4HeartHealth

Hundreds of You’re the Cure advocates are in Washington, D.C. today!   And we have a great group of NYers making the trip!  So what's everyone talking about?

Advocates will be telling lawmakers to support healthy school meals - Kids don't need junk food in schools. 

And we'll also be fighting for funding for medical research - it has the power to save lives.

You can help our advocates gathered in Washington, D.C. today in delivering a strong message to Congress – we can’t afford cuts to National Institutes of Health research. Take action here: http://p2a.co/9aEU5aY

Lets all #StepUp4HeartHealth

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A Winning Game for School Lunches and Research Funding!

At You’re the Cure on the Hill 2015, more than 380 AHA advocates and staff from all 50 states, plus DC —and thousands more back home—stepped up to the plate for healthy school lunches and medical research funding. This year, our Hill day theme was built off the great American game of baseball, something that could resonate with advocates and lawmakers alike and give them a rallying cry for the event: Step Up to the Plate! It was an invitation from advocates to lawmakers, asking them to get off the bench and into the game. And they knocked it out of the park.

It was one of our most exciting days on the Hill with a combination of passionate advocates meeting face-to-face with their lawmakers and thousands of supportive voices from around the country who backed them up with phone calls, emails, tweets and Facebook posts. Together, our voices hit a home run for healthy school meals and heart and stroke research funding.

Advocates conducted 293 meetings with lawmakers, asking them to protect the progress made by the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act and support school nutrition standards. At the same time, advocates asked lawmakers to make heart disease and stroke research a national priority by increasing the budget of the National Institutes of Health.

Meanwhile, advocates back home around the country jumped in as pinch hitters to call and email their members of Congress and ask them to Step Up to the Plate. Capitol Hill received over 6,218 messages from constituents back home.

Throughout the day, we had so many all-star advocates who made the views, passions and needs of constituents known to their lawmakers in new and compelling ways. On top of that, we had two Congressional Award Winners who rounded out the team: Sen. Crapo (R-ID) and Sen. Mikulski (D-MD). They received the American Heart Association’s National Public Service Award, which has been granted biennially since 1982 to members of Congress who have actively promoted our mission. We are so thrilled to have their support!

Below is a snapshot of our day!

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Dr. Steven Kopecky - Letter to the Editor

Dr. Steven Kopecky's letter to the editor was published in the Rochester paper today, check it out!

I appreciate that Sen. Carla Nelson represents the residents of Senate District 26 so well, especially on important health issues such as reducing the harmful effects of tobacco.

Sen. Nelson has a solid track record of championing policies that reduce youth smoking. She was a chief author on a bill that closed a tax loophole on the sale of little cigars that are cheap and are sold in kid-friendly flavors. She authored legislation to increase the tobacco tax in Minnesota — "the most effective tool we have at reducing youth smoking rates." Most recently, Sen. Nelson spoke out in opposition to a bill that would obliterate the tax on premium cigars.

Yet, tobacco still kills 5,100 Minnesotans every year, and the tobacco companies continue to spend millions to lure kids and nonsmokers to pick up the deadly habit.  See full article here

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Highlights of PA Advocacy Day 2015

On April 20, 2015, dozens of dedicated American Heart Association volunteers from across Pennsylvania converged on the State Capitol to raise awareness of important heart and stroke-related policy issues.  For a number of attendees, this was their first-ever advocacy day, and they found it to be a very informative and rewarding experience. 

As part of the day’s event, AHA hosted a press conference focused on CPR as a graduation requirement.  In addition, we were thrilled to have the smoke-free bill sponsors, Senator Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) and Representative Tom Murt (R-Montgomery), take part in the press conference to show their support for AHA and the clean indoor air issue. 

Throughout the day, volunteers took to the Capitol halls, speaking to Legislators and their staff on three specific issues: 

  • Tobacco Taxes.  Governor Tom Wolf has proposed to increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and levy a 40 percent wholesale tax on other tobacco products.  Study after study shows that increasing tobacco taxes reduces youth smoking, helps adult smokers quit, and reduces smoking-related deaths. 
  • Hands-only CPR Training in Schools.  AHA is leading the way to support efforts that would ensure students graduating from high school are provided with a hands-only, 30-minute CPR training.  We believe that learning the basic skill of physically administering CPR will ensure every high school graduate is ready to step up and save a life.
  • Clean Indoor Air.  For many years, AHA has supported strengthening Pennsylvania’s smoke-free law, known as the “Clean Indoor Air Act.”  The law was enacted in 2008 and contains over a dozen exemptions, far more than any surrounding state.  These workplaces, where smoking is permitted, exposes Pennsylvania workers, and the public, to the dangers of secondhand smoke.  Legislation has been introduced in the House (House Bill 682) and the Senate (Senate Bill 567) that would remove the exemptions. 

The efforts of our volunteers truly made an impact in Harrisburg!  Their involvement, personal stories and engagement are an important part of how we fulfill our mission of building healthier lives, free from cardiovascular disease and stroke.


 

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Thank You for Everything You Do!

It’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week this week (April 12 – 16) – and with that thought on our minds, we wanted to tell you how much we appreciate you, and all that you do for You’re the Cure initiatives all across the East Coast.

We appreciate every single alert response, every call, every visit you have made to your lawmakers and elected officials. We appreciate you joining us in conference rooms across our division as we train you on different state policies and how to be an engaged advocate. We appreciate those who serve on our Advocacy Committees, putting in long hours in meetings and on calls as you help us shape our grassroots plans.

We appreciate you, and we appreciate your time and all you do as a partner of the American Heart Association. In case you ever forget, every little thing – both large and small – makes a difference!

Every Little Thing you do

as a You’re the Cure advocate helps,

and we appreciate you!

 THANK YOU for all you do.

Just a note: If you haven't joined our advocacy network yet, it's never too late! Just visit us at www.yourethecure.org and become a You're the Cure member. It only takes a few moments to sign up, but you'll help make a difference that will last through the years!

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MN Advocates Testify on AHA Issues at the Capitol

Last week was full of hearings up at the Capitol and State Office Building! We want to thank ALL of our volunteers who testified on our issues. Check it out below:

The House Transportation Finance Committee released their omnibus transportation finance bill on Tuesday. We lined up 4 testifiers to focus on a narrative about bike/walk investment that stressed the business case and need for investment in Greater MN. Peter Grasse (3M Employees Bicycle User Group), Patrick Hollister (Active Living Planner, PartnerSHIP4Health), Dawn Moen (Program Specialist, BLEND-CentraCare Health Foundation), Dorian Grilley (Executive Director, Bicycle Alliance of MN).

Patrick Hollister (right) and Peter Grasse  (below) testified  at the MN House Transportation Committee hearing about the economic and social benefits that walkable/bikeable communities bring to Greater MN and the need for infrastructure in the suburbs to support bicycling as a real choice to get to and from work. ‪#‎FundBikePedinMN‬ ‪#‎mnleg

Dawn Moen (below), testified in the MN House Transportation Committee, thanking the committee for their support of Safe Routes to School and advocating for more state investment in active transportation.

 

 

 

The Physical Education bill was heard in the Senate Education Budget Division on Thur. April 8th and in the House Education Finance Committee on Friday April 10th. Matt Johnson, PE teacher at Hassan Elementary School in Rogers (main picture and below), testified on our bill to ensure all MN students get a quality physical education. He opened by asking the committee members to stand up and move around to get some blood flow to the brain.

 

The bill will be laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus education bill. Thank you, Rep. Bob Dettmer, for being a tremendous lead author and champion for PE!

Dr. Russell Luepker, a longtime AHA volunteer (below) testified against the proposed tax relief for premium cigars in the Senate Tax Committee on Wed. April 8th. He did a fantastic job, as always, standing up against reducing the hard won tobacco tax increase we achieved in 2013. Check out this interesting article in the Star Tribune covering the hearing: “Cigar tax cut considered at Capitol, but anti-smoking activists push back”

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Tobacco to 21 is Progressing in the Hawaii State Legislature

Guest Blogger: Don Weisman, Hawaii Government Relations Director

As of April 1, Hawaii Senate Bill 1030, which proposes to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21, has passed through the required House and Senate committees. The next steps pending approval on the House floor, will be to move to a conference committee where House and Senate members will work out differences in their respective versions of the bill.

Tobacco to 21, as the issue is often referred, has taken on greater focus since a March 14 report issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that it could join higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free air laws, and adequately funded community tobacco prevention, control and cessation programs as the cornerstones of effective reduction of tobacco addiction and use among minors. The IOM strongly concluded that boosting the tobacco sale age to 21 will have a substantial positive impact on public health and save lives. It found that raising the tobacco sale age will significantly reduce the number of adolescents and young adults who start smoking; reduce smoking-caused deaths; and immediately improve the health of adolescents, young adults and young mothers who would be deterred from smoking, as well as their children. Significantly, the greatest impact would be among adolescents 15-17 who would no longer be able to pass for legal age and would have a harder time obtaining cigarettes from their older friends and classmates.

Overall, the report predicts that raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 will, over time, reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by 10 percent.

The American Heart Association is supporting the Hawaii state legislation. National data shows that 95 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before they turn 21. The ages of 18 to 21 are a critical period when many smokers move from experimental smoking to regular, daily use. While half of adult smokers become daily smokers before 18, four out of five do so before they turn 21. Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 will help prevent these young people from ever starting to smoke. If passed, Hawaii would join at least 58 localities in 7 states – including Hawaii County and New York City – that have already raised the tobacco sale age to 21. California, Washington and New Jersey state legislatures are also currently considering similar bills.

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Nevada Lobby Day 2015 Recap

On Tuesday, March 31st, American Heart Association staff, business leaders, survivors, and You’re the Cure advocates joined together in Carson City at the Capitol to support heart-healthy legislation.  In addition, dozens of advocates supported their efforts by taking action online.

To those of you who joined us in Carson City or took online action, the Nevada Advocacy Team wants to say THANK YOU!  

In case you didn’t attend Lobby Day, here’s how we did it:  

  • We hosted a Hand-Only CPR demonstration in the morning.  If you don’t know Hand-Only CPR or would like a 2 minute refresher, please click here!
  • We met face-to-face with legislators in the Assembly Education, Assembly Health and Humans Services Committees as well as members of the Senate Finance Committee.
  • We dropped off informational packets to all remaining legislators who were unavailable to meet due to previous engagements.

And if you missed this year’s Lobby Day, don’t worry! You can still support our efforts online by clicking here and there will be additional opportunities to take action in the coming months. We’ll need every single one of you along the way! 

Please email Ben Schmauss at Ben.Schmauss@heart.org or Josh Brown at Josh.Brown@heart.org if you are interested in future volunteer opportunities, or if you have any additional questions. 

Thank you again for being a critical part of the You’re the Cure team!

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