Building Relationships Through Advocacy

Building Relationships Through Advocacy

2/22/17

I first became involved with CARE last year when a friend, Brenda Rose, invited me to join a meeting with staff from Washington’s 3rd district local office.  Although our representative, Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) was not attending the meeting, I was nevertheless intimidated.  My focus the last seven years has been my children.  As a stay at home mom, I feel as though my brain has been rewired to forget everything - wiping the slate clean every twenty minutes.  Fortunately, we were met by gracious staff and the experience was empowering. 

Motivated by CARE research, I then helped plan a local Day of the Girl celebration with Brenda and another advocate, Emily Whitton.  The event was a huge success and we all felt encouraged and excited about the impact we can have locally and abroad.

On February 2nd, my fellow advocates Brenda and Emily, along with Jonathan Young (CARE Regional Advocacy Director) and I met with Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler via teleconference. After introductions, our Congresswoman immediately shared her concern for maternal health.  Brenda, our district’s CARE Advocate Chair, led the ask to co-sponsor the bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act when re‐introduced into the House.  Representative Herrera Beutler expressed interest and asked for more information regarding the science behind birth spacing.  Brenda followed up the next day with these reports:

A WHO report, where you can read the Summary Recommendations on pg 2:
http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/69855/1/WHO_RHR_07.1_eng.pdf

A Rand working paper - abstract on pg 5:
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2004/RAND_WR198.pdf

And an abstract from a peer-reviewed paper in the The International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics: 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15820365  This last peer-reviewed paper is cited by the CDC in their recommendations for improved reproductive healthcare.

The Congresswoman then discussed her formation of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Maternity Care in partnership with Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA).  

I shared a story of my experience in Cameroon at a chimpanzee sanctuary where the founder, a veterinarian, is the only source of medical aid to the surrounding villages.  We all discussed the importance of resources for women and children around the globe.  Emily then asked Rep. Herrera Beutler to support the provision of no less than $60 billion in FY18 for the International Affairs Budget.  Because the Congresswoman sits on the Appropriations Committee, her support is critical.  I am happy to report she is supportive.  She did caution that this year the budget will most likely stay stagnant at $58.8 billion, but Representative Herrera Beutler is willing to support the increase in subsequent years.

We wrapped up the meeting with our thanks and invitations to upcoming learning tours.  Although the Easter break tour is unlikely, she seemed very interested in the August recess learning tour with the Congressional Women’s Caucus focused on global women’s health.

Although our meeting was brief, we were very pleased with the opportunity to speak with our representative directly.  It is exciting to build our relationships while continuing the discussion and education opportunities.

Kimber Huntington Webb
CARE Advocate
Washington’s 3rd District

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