One of the keys to a successful governmental relations program is the participation of Association members; no one plays a more crucial role in legislative issues pertaining to your profession than the members themselves.
The goal of the IVMA is to develop and maintain a network of veterinarians who are familiar with, or who have contact with, a legislator. If you know someone in the Legislature, it could be a valuable contact for veterinary legislative initiatives.
Veterinary Medicine represents an enormous social and economic impact on Indiana. Rooted in the agricultural history of our state, veterinarians play a key role in ensuring the health of our farm animals and the safety of our food supply. Veterinarians are also vital in ensuring the health and welfare of Indiana’s pet population. Veterinarians work in a wide variety of professional careers that can assist legislators with important pieces of legislation.
What is the value of a grassroots network?
IVMA engages in government relations, public policy, and advocacy activities for a variety of reasons.
These activities can enable IVMA to:
• Serve as a unified voice for the profession;
• Impact state and federal legislation / regulation / policy;
• Provide a platform for members’ participation in the democratic process;
• Educate and inform public policy makers and influencers with its specialized knowledge and expertise.
Veterinarians have a position of influence in your local communities. Indiana’s legislators can rely on veterinarians and their expertise regarding potential legislative proposals related to your profession.
- Do attend candidate/legislator local events. Ask where they stand on our issues.
- Wear your clinic gear identifying you as a veterinarian at public events in your local communities.
Want to connect with your state senator or representative? Here are a few tips:
1. Start now. Reach out to their office and work to establish a relationship. Most legislators have breakfasts and/or local meetings scheduled in their district. Find out about events.
2. Be a resource for your legislator. Let them know you are available to offer your expertise. Provide them with your contact information. Let them know to contact you anytime they have a question about veterinary medicine, zoonotic disease, public health, etc.
3. Be sure to call yourself “Dr.” when making contact with legislators (unless you know them, of course).
Personal interaction is the most powerful way to promote veterinary medicine in Indiana in the legislative process.