I got back from Washington D.C. last Wednesday after spending a day lobbying for the Natural Products Association (NPA) on issues pertaining mostly to dietary supplements. I got a quick lesson on how the system works (or doesn’t) and what we need to do to be heard.
The biggest lesson I learned is you do have a voice. You don’t have to go to Washington to be heard. If you are concerned about an issue that is being dealt with in the Senate or House pertaining to food or supplements, it is your job to get involved. There is no use complaining about the system if you don’t try to use it first. The first thing you should do is to contact you Senator and your local Representative and alert them of your concerns. Get their email addresses and have you friends send similar messages. Frequency and groups in your Rep’s regions will get them to listen. They want to be reelected and need support from their communities to do this.
On my trip, myself and a group from the Florida region met with aides from both Florida senator’s offices and went over our industry’s concerns with current and future bills affecting dietary supplements. We wanted to remind them that our industry is holding strong through the recession and people depend on our products to keep them healthy and without them healthcare costs WILL go up.
We asked that they remember this when they go over healthcare reform this summer. Supplements that have proven effective by the FDA can save our country 20 billion dollars in five years. We also reeducated them on DSHEA and the fact that supplements are regulated by our government and we don’t need any changes in regulation.
The only food related issue we touched was reanalyzing food standards in our public schools. These standards have not been addressed since 1979 while food choices have changed dramatically.
All of our comments were well received from the aides as they had personal interests in our issues. They felt that our senators would be interested to hear our position and our views were backed with facts and passion.
This was a great experience but it means nothing if myself and my community is not there to remind our government when these issues are being decided upon. I will be keeping you posted on what is going on and ask for your help from time to time. I hope you will help me keep the grass roots efforts alive so we can protect our health and the health of others.
Mel Martinez (FL Republican)
356 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Click here to email Mel
Bill Nelson (FL Democrat)
716 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
Click here to email Bill