The Legsislative Ledger

 May 2012
ASDA Advocacy
Congrats to the 2011-12 LGN Award Winners  
Alex Sadak, Stony Brook '14, is the Legislative Liaison of the Year. Alex has worked very hard to get his chapter involved and keep them informed about what's going on. He organized an ADPAC Awareness Week which included a membership drive where 89 percent of his chapter members signed up for ADPAC. He also combined a meet and greet with his local Congressman with a blood drive to show the chapter's support for community outreach efforts. Congrats Alex and keep up the good work!

The Ideal LGN Chapter is the University of Florida. Florida participated in two state lobby days: one organized by the Florida Dental Association and the other organized by the Florida ASDA chapter. The chapter also organized ADPAC and state PAC drives and hosted 15 legislative lunch & learns. Congratulations Florida on a great year in advocacy!

From the States
325 Dental Students Were "At the Table" in D.C. 
Photo courtesy of Max Taylor Photography

As the saying around Capitol Hill goes, "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu." That is exactly the philosophy the 325 dental student attendees had for National Dental Student Lobby Day 2012. After a day of training on how's and why's of Congress and lobbying, as well as an in-depth discussion of the two issues identified for our lobbying efforts, ASDA members truly made a difference.

The legislation selected was timely and of particular importance to how ASDA members will be able to practice dentistry upon graduation. Below is a recap of Lobby Day 2012 issues:

H.R. 1666: Breaking Barriers to Oral Health Act
"Barriers to care" is a phrase we are all familiar with, but the way to combat access issues like geography, language, culture and poverty 
is with action to empower local agencies to form partnerships and expand charitable programs. Lobby Day meetings with U.S. representatives, senators and their staff focused on the types of programs that would be impacted, like Missions of Mercy and Give Kids a Smile Day, by a budget allocation of $20 million to provide grants for programs that address the oral health crisis plaguing our nation. Since Lobby Day, H.R.1666 has added five new co-sponsors, bringing the total to 26.

H.R. 4170: Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012
Student loan debt has just surpassed credit card debt in the United States. This issue was presented as one of economic recovery and access to care. It can be expected that any money not spent on student loan interest and principle would be funneled into our local economies or spent to improve our practice. It can also be said that there is a significant barrier to recent dental graduates from pursuing positions in under-served areas or careers in education, research or public health due to their debt burden. This bill would do three things:
  • Forgive outstanding student loan debt not to exceed $45,000 after 10 years of payments equal to 10 percent of discretionary income
  • Cap interest rates on federal loans at 3.4 percent
  • Allow graduates who enter public service professions to have their loans forgiven after five years

H.R. 4170 has added 10 new co-sponsors as a result of our lobbying efforts on April 17.   

Lobby Day Photos 
Hundreds of photos were taken at the Capitol. Check out the Lobby Day 2012 photo set on Flickr.  
In This Issue
-ASDA Advocacy
-The Issues for 2012
Legislative Grassroots Network

Ian Murray, Western '13

ADPAC Student Director 
Ross Isbell, Alabama '14

Districts 1-3 Legislative Coordinator:
Chrissy Shaw, Connecticut '14

Districts 4-5 Legislative Coordinator:   
Phil Bell, Florida '14

Districts 6-7 Legislative Coordinator:
Ashley Ginsberg, Illinois '14 

Districts 8-9 Legislative Coordinator:   
Emily Tschetter, Nebraska '14

Districts 10-11 Legislative Coordinator:  
Spencer Armuth, Las Vegas '14

Staff Liaison
Meghan Keelean, CMP