AOA leaves its mark on midterm elections

AOA leaves its mark on midterm elections

It is essential for optometry to have an even greater impact on the 2016 elections.

The AOA made its impact on the midterm elections. Making the most of nearly $2 million in investments from AOA members, AOA-PAC supported 333 candidates and incumbents, achieving a 95 percent election success rate.

AOA President David A. Cockrell, O.D., highlighted the AOA's election activities and successes in a letter to members, noting that "AOA-PAC played a key role in congressional races across the country, backing the campaigns of candidates in all 50 states who back optometry."

While AOA has been recognized as one of the most respected and effective advocacy groups in the nation's capital, "AOA-PAC is a big part of the reason why 'AOA punches far above its weight class,' as one elected official observed to us this year," Dr. Cockrell added.

Aside from general support, the AOA honed in on specific races. Working closely with the Kentucky Optometric Association, the AOA ran radio spots promoting Sen. Mitch McConnell's longtime support for optometry and its patients.

The Republican incumbent won 56 percent of the vote in the Blue Grass State, thereby paving his way as the likely majority leader in the Senate next year.

More work is ahead in 2015
Now that the elections are over, Dr. Cockrell emphasized that more work is ahead for the profession in 2015 and 2016.

While AOA successfully secured record levels of bipartisan support for key optometry-specific issues in this Congress, "this is no time to stand pat. Organized medicine, insurers and others with an anti-optometry agenda intend to be more active than ever in Washington, D.C., next year," Dr. Cockrell said.

"With a number of critically important health care issues yet to be decided on Capitol Hill, we still have a great deal of work ahead of us," Dr. Cockrell added. "To be listened to and heeded at this critical moment, optometry must continue to take its proactive, pro-access, pro-patient message directly to our newly elected and reelected leaders."

A personal message
ODs got specific encouragement from one of their own on Capitol Hill this election season. In a special video presentation, Sen. John Boozman, O.D., (R-Ark.) urged AOA members to participate in their association and engage with elected officials.

"I've always believed that we are stronger when united. AOA is proof positive of that. But it takes your active involvement to make that happen," Dr. Boozman stated.

The AOA is encouraging its members to join ongoing advocacy efforts either as a Federal Keyperson or AOA-PAC supporter. Members are also encouraged to participate in 2015's Congressional Advocacy Conference and support the essential care that ODs provide to patients.

Members with advocacy questions or concerns should reach out to the AOA Washington Office staff.

November 6, 2014

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