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Join the Lupus Research Alliance this August and Take It To The District!

During August, members of the House of Representatives will be in their home districts engaging with their constituents. This is another opportunity for YOU to share the importance of lupus research! We’re calling on all lupus advocates to connect with your Representative this August at local town halls, personal meetings, and public events to advocate for lupus research funding!

What happens at a Town Hall?

Town halls provide fantastic opportunities to gain face-to-face time with your Representative while they are back in the district. Town hall meetings typically consist of two parts. First, your Representative will speak about their priorities and developments in Washington D.C. Then, he or she will open the floor to questions and comments from constituents. This is your chance to ask your Representative about their support for lupus research funding! If your Representative is not conducting such a public meeting, please try to meet with him or her personally in the district office.

Below are all the tools and resources you need, including an update on all the issues we advocated for this past March, a one-pager you can share with your Representative with our “asks,” general talking points, and how to find out who your Representative is and where they are speaking at in-district events near you!

Our “Asks” and Where They Stand

This past March, we called on advocates like you to ask Congress to support funding for lupus research. You can find our “asks” to Congress below, including an update on the latest actions for each request.

Download a one-pager that you can share with your Representative, as well as some general talking points that you can utilize when engaging your member of Congress.

  • Provide $15 million for the Department of Defense’s lupus research program

    Just passed, the House Defense bill includes level funding of $10 million for the lupus research program. However, Congress still has a ways to go before a final bill is enacted, and there is still an opportunity to press lawmakers to increase funding for the program.

  • Fund the National Institutes of Health at $51 billion

    Currently, the House has proposed funding the NIH at $48 billion, but the Senate has not yet acted. Again, there is still time to push the House to increase funding before Congress finalizes its health funding bill for the next fiscal year.

  • Support the Lupus Accelerating Breakthroughs Consortium (Lupus ABC)

    We’re calling on Congress to support an FDA funding bill that expresses specific support for the Lupus Accelerating Breakthroughs Consortium (Lupus ABC). Lupus ABC is a public-private partnership which convenes people with lived lupus experience, researchers, scientists, advocacy groups, industry and government stakeholders, including the FDA to address the most urgent challenges and advance safer treatments for people with lupus.

How To Identify Your Representative

As our advocacy efforts only focus on members of the House of Representatives, it’s important to engage with the lawmaker that represents you in your district. Check who your Representative is by inputting your zip code at www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

For advocates who live in a densely populated or near a district line, you may need to provide your address to identify your Representative.

Finding Congressional Events Near You

During August while members of Congress are in their districts, members often host a variety of events such as town halls and open forums. There, constituents like you are welcome to voice their opinions to their Representative, ask for support on a bill or issue, or ask questions about what is being done to address a specific issue in Congress.

To find out when town hall meetings or other open events in your Congressional district will be held, monitor your Representative’s website, sign up for your Member’s email alerts, or periodically call your Member’s district office for event updates. Members usually hold town hall meetings in different areas around their district. You are welcome to attend an event in any part of your Congressional district.

Alternatively, you can also request a meeting with your Representative or their district staff. To do so, please call your Representative’s district office to request a meeting. Contact information for district offices can be found on their official website.

What to Expect

During a town hall meeting, make sure to have your question or comment prepared in advance. Limit yourself to ONE question or comment. For example:

“Hello, my name is ______, and I have a personal connection with lupus, an autoimmune disease that can be debilitating or even deadly. I am here today to ask you about your support for funding for lupus research, and whether or not I can count on your to support $15 million for the Department of Defense lupus research program, $51 billion for the National Institutes of Health, and the ongoing work of FDA’s Lupus Accelerating Breakthroughs Consortium”

If you aren’t given the chance to ask your question during the meeting, or you have additional questions, hang around afterwards. Most members of Congress stick around for a few extra minutes to take additional questions one-on-one.

Remember to always be polite, and if possible, connect with a member of his or her staff. The staffer can take your comments, answer questions, and refer you to the specific staff member most interested in medical research. Also, especially as we approach the November election, try to steer clear of electoral politics at these official events.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

Have questions about what we are advocating for or how to connect with your representative?

As advocacy consultants for the LRA, CRD Associates will be holding a virtual office hour on Wednesday, July 31 at 12:00 PM ET. For any immediate questions, you can also reach out to Grace Kranstover at gkranstover@dc-crd.com.

Knowledge is power; learn more here.