Since participating in the ASBMB 50-State Challenge and meeting with many of the Texas congressmen’s local staffers, SPEaC has started developing a productive collaboration with the congressional staffers in Representative Marc Veasey’s Dallas office. To this end, we were fortunate to host Representative Veasey’s lead field representative, Lorraine Birabil, at our last meeting held on December 3rd 2014. As Representative Veasey’s lead field representative, Ms. Birabil spends her time traveling around the 33rd district meeting constituents to learn about their interests. She also ensures that every call and letter coming through the Veasey office is logged to allow Congressmen Veasey to receive reports of constituents’ concerns. Ms. Birabil also emphasized that a combination of phone calls, letters, and office visits are the best way to communicate with Representative Veasey.
At the SPEaC meeting, Ms. Birabil led a discussion and answered questions about how we can increase public awareness of scientific research as the foundation for health care treatment and prevention. She emphasized that Representative Veasey prioritizes health care and job growth in his platform and was therefore very enthusiastic about SPEaC’s upcoming science booth at Dallas’s Perot Museum of Science and Nature (starting January 24th). She also suggested additional platforms, like National Service Academies outreach days, for our science outreach efforts to maximize public engagement. Furthermore, we plan on participating in the Veasey-sponsored 2015 Congressional Teen Summit this spring. Ms. Birabil also connected us to Representative Veasey’s Washington, D.C. legislative aid, Jared Hawes. This will allow us to stay on top of the current science legislation and offer our scientific expertise as resource as we move into the 114th congress.
Overall the meeting helped us continue fostering relationships with local lawmakers as well as learn how to improve out science advocacy efforts. We appreciate Ms. Birabil taking the time to meet with us and we invite her office to consider us as a resource for biomedical research expertise in the future.
Editor: Devon C.