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Pharmacists’ Guide to the 2016 Elections

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The first step toward achieving goals like provider recognition and expanded patient care roles is to elect members of Congress who will support your role in patient care and champion the issues that affect your practice. Your participation in the 2016 elections can help ensure that pharmacists are able to play key roles in patient care. Before you head to the polls, make sure that you’ve taken these important steps:

  • Check your polling location and hours: Check with your Board of Elections to verify where you should go and when you can vote. Remember, if you are in line when the polls close you are still allowed to vote.
  • Vote early (but not often.) Many states allow for early voting prior to the primary or general election date. This can be a time saver and can help you avoid lines and crowds on election day.
  • Know what’s on the ballot – You may be voting to fill elected offices or for laws that will impact your community, so it is important to be informed about the key issues. Research candidates and issues in your local papers or on voter information web sites like realclearpolitics or the League of Women Voters.
  • Encourage your neighbors, colleagues and friends to exercise their civic duty. A democracy works better when everyone’s voice is heard.

How to Choose a Candidate

Ideally the candidates that you support will match your views on a variety of issues. You can identify potential candidates through involvement in your local political party or community groups. To find out if a candidate is “pharmacy-friendly” you should:

  • Read campaign literature or attend campaign events. Be sure to ask questions about the candidate’s position on healthcare issues that affect your practice, including patient and medication safety, drug shortages, reimbursement, and recognition of pharmacists as healthcare providers. This is especially important when one or more of the candidates have never held public office.
  • Review the types of legislation that the candidate has supported in the past. Legislators who introduce or cosponsor bills that deal with drug shortages, workforce issues, or new delivery models are likely to be supportive of expanded patient care roles for pharmacists. Make sure that you know whether your members of Congress are cosponsors of provider status legislation, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act.
  • Check to see if the candidate serves on a health-care related committee. ASHP works closely with members of Congress who are assigned to these committees.
  • Follow ASHP’s advocacy activity to find out the issues the Society is working on and the legislators who support our efforts.

Who Does ASHP Support?

Although ASHP does not formally endorse candidates, our political action committee, the ASHP-PAC contributes to the campaigns of Democratic and Republican congressional candidates who support pharmacists’ role in patient care. ASHP-PAC is bipartisan. The majority of the recipients of ASHP-PAC contributions serve on committees that address healthcare issues.
During the current election cycle, ASHP-PAC has contributed to the campaigns of the following candidates:

  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
  • Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA)
  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  • Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-TX)
  • Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC)
  • Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA)
  • Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA)
  • Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
  • Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
  • Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD)
  • Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  • Rep. Brett S. Guthrie (R-KY)
  • Trey Hollingsworth (Candidate- R-IN)
  • Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL)
  • Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
  • Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)
  • Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
  • Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)
  • Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
  • Rep. Doris O. Matsui (D-CA)
  • Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
  • Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
  • Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)
  • Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA)
  • Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
  • Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
  • Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
  • Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
  • Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
  • Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)
  • Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
  • Rep. Todd Young (R-IN)

Volunteering on a Campaign

Now that you’ve identified a candidate to support, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and help get him or her elected! Volunteering during a candidate’s election or reelection campaign is a good first step to gaining access to and building credibility with elected officials and their staff.

Getting Started:

  • Be sure that you are able to make a time commitment to the campaign. Prepare to devote several hours a week.
  • Contact the campaign’s volunteer coordinator to express an interest in working on the campaign. Be sure to emphasize your healthcare expertise and offer yourself as a resource.
  • Don’t be discouraged if your expertise isn’t utilized right away. A candidate’s closest advisors are often long-time friends and confidantes. You can build credibility by working diligently where you are needed and taking advantage of opportunities to contribute a perspective that others may have missed.
  • Participate in phone banks to encourage support for the candidate.
  • Deliver lawn signs.
  • Staff election polling places.
  • Distribute campaign materials at election polling places.
  • Research issues.
  • Host campaign or fundraising events, like meet & greets or house parties.
  • Attend campaign events with the candidate.
  • Help with office work at campaign headquarters.

What to Expect

There is a lot of work to be done during a campaign. Campaign volunteers often:

  • Participate in phone banks to encourage support for the candidate.
  • Deliver lawn signs.
  • Staff election polling places.
  • Distribute campaign materials at election polling places.
  • Research issues.
  • Host campaign or fundraising events, like meet & greets or house parties.
  • Attend campaign events with the candidate.
  • Help with office work at campaign headquarters.

 

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