Advocacy is Necessary to Achieve Legislative Success
Understanding the purpose of and need for a strong professional advocacy program is the first step in achieving legislative success. It is important to know what role the MDHA plays in these efforts, and more importantly, what role you play in this process.
You, as a member of MDHA, are an advocate for dental hygienists and for the patients you serve. Advocacy can be separated into two important functions:
–The Legislative Process: This is simply the process by which laws are made. This is critical for Dental Hygiene as you are a legislated profession which means your scope of practice is determined and defined by legislators and regulators.
–The Political Process: Participating in the political process is key to achieving legislative success. To be active politically is to be an advocate for yourself and any organization to which you belong. Advocacy is itself a major function of the MDHA and, therefore must be a priority for the association and its members. By being politically active, MDHA members demonstrate to their legislators that they are committed to advancing their profession to better serve your patients.
There are three factors needed to move legislative action in Missouri:
Merit (the legitimacy of your issue) You must explain clearly to legislators what problem exists, who is impacted by it, why it must be fixed and how to fix it.
Money (MO-HYPAC) This is a reality of politics as it is required to fund the growing cost of running a political campaign. (See below for further information about MO-HYPAC)
Membership can be the most effective way to achieve success in the legislature. As a constituent (voter), you have the power to influence your legislator more effectively than anyone else. MDHA can achieve the level of success it needs with an active, well-organized membership.
Understanding what actions are needed for legislative success and embracing the role of politics in government will elevate the MDHA to the next level of influence in the State Legislature. Don’t forget, you are the advocates for your profession and serve as the political arm of the MDHA. You must become and remain active in both the legislative and political process to keep dental hygiene moving forward.