The COPD Foundation has started a nationwide, grassroots membership campaign for the Congressional COPD Caucus. COPD is a public health epidemic. It continues to damage the lives patients and their families. Until every member of Congress recognizes this growing health problem, it will be hard to make strides toward improving the lives of patients with COPD on a national level. There are one hundred senators serving in the U.S. Senate, two from each state. There are 435 representatives serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, with a varying number from each state. That totals 535 possible members in for the Congressional COPD Caucus.What is Congressional COPD Caucus?
The mission of the Congressional COPD Caucus is to present members of Congress with thoughtful, positive, and practical solutions to promote awareness of COPD and improve the lives of patients. On March 30, 2004, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) offi cially launched the Congressional COPD Caucus. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Representative John Lewis (D-GA), and Senator Blanche Lincoln (DAR) joined Senator Crapo as Caucus Co- Chairs. The Congressional COPD Caucus gives the COPD community a public platform in Congress to bring attention to critical issues.Why is it important?
The Caucus marked its three year anniversary in March and still only has fi fty-three members. Once senators and representatives from around the country take notice of COPD and realize the impact it is having on the communities they represent, they will be prepared to take action to change the situation. This could result in positive legislation for the COPD community, such as the Pulmonary Rehab Act, moving swiftly through the legislative process. It could increase funding for national awareness campaigns and government research. The potential accomplishments of this group are virtually limitless, but one thing is certain: the more members of the caucus, the better the laws will become for COPD patients.What can people with COPD do?
Each and every member of the COPD community can write letters to their representative and senators asking them to be members of the Congressional COPD Caucus. Patients can ask their family members, friends, and medical professionals to write letters too. The more letters a congressperson receives, the more important he or she will think COPD is to the area he or she represents. Usually, each letter would be written and mailed individually, but the COPD Foundation has a different plan. Letters will be collected at our main offi ce and hand delivered to each senator and representative. Not only does a bundle of letters show more interest than single letters, the Foundation staffer delivering the letters will also be able to answer questions in person.
On the next page, a sample letter has been provided to get you started. Personalized letters usually have a greater impact than form letters. If you have time, personalize your letter by including a story about the difference COPD made in your life, then send your letters to: COPD Foundation Operation 535 2937 SW 27th Avenue, Suite 302 Miami, FL 33133.How do I find out who my congresspersons are
Find your representative (1) at: "http://www.house.gov/zip/ZIP2Rep.html Find your senators (2) at: "http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm If you dont have internet access, call the C.O.P.D. Information Line at: 1.866.316.2673 from 9 am 9 pm Eastern Monday-Friday.