Leading Change Through Advocacy

By Austin Cawley, Director of Legislative Affairs
May 19, 2022

Three things we are told not to discuss in polite company are religion, politics, and money, which makes talking about contributing to a political action committee a challenging conversation. However, it’s an important - and necessary - conversation to have with fellow LeadingAge PA members, board members, and staff.

The Association's vision is to serve as the preeminent advocate for facilitating change and inspiring its members to positively impact the field of aging services in Pennsylvania. In support of this vision, the advocacy team has been leading the charge on the third and fourth regulatory packages, which include opposing prescriptive staffing ratios at a time when the workforce crisis continues to worsen. Furthermore, recognizing the current workforce struggles our provider members are facing, the government affairs team has been working with, and on behalf of, LeadingAge PA members not only to raise awareness of these challenges, but also to find solutions to recruiting and retaining staff.

This spring has been a busy time for the LeadingAge PA advocacy team. In addition to our work on the regulatory packages, we have been busy advocating for a state budget increase of $294.3 million to Medicaid reimbursement rates. And now our efforts - and the need for grassroots support - are even more critical because as the anxiety and anticipation of the primary election subside, the General Assembly will reconvene next week (May 23-25). Among their many responsibilities as they continue to work throughout June - pass Governor Wolf’s final budget.

In concert with LeadingAge PA’s daily advocacy efforts, financially supporting candidates and legislators is and will always be a key component of an effective advocacy strategy. This backing helps LeadingAge PA and its members gain greater access to legislative leadership, foster relationships, as well as support and recruit new legislative champions.

This year, the LeadingAge PA Political Action Committee has set the goal of raising $50,000. To put that in perspective, if the leadership and board members from each member organization collectively contribute $500, the PAC would easily surpass the goal, strengthening its power considerably. PAC Chair Carol McKinley stated in a recent letter to membership, “Change cannot occur without effort, and you know from the work we all do that no matter how small the effort, positive change can happen.” But we need your support.

To understand what the government affairs team is doing and how we are utilizing the collective power of our members, be sure to attend our session, "LeadingAge PA Policy and Advocacy: What’s New, Now, and Next?" at the Annual Conference. Are you ready to take action or do you have questions? If so, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to me, Austin Cawley, director of legislative affairs, to learn how you can get involved!