AOA-PAC plays outsized role in 2022 midterm elections

November 9, 2022
Access the AOA’s 2022 elections map to see how optometry’s candidates fared and where advocates can get involved to ensure the profession’s priorities remain heard.
AOA-PAC plays outsized role in 2022 midterm elections

Despite shifting political winds and the lasting disruption caused by the pandemic and economic downturn, the AOA-PAC continues to play a decisive role in hundreds of congressional races, nationwide.

As the 2022 midterm election closes with most races now called, the AOA-PAC backed more than 91% of winning candidates this cycle by reinvesting over $2 million back into the campaigns of hundreds of pro-optometry U.S. House and Senate incumbents and candidates. Below, view the AOA-PAC’s interactive map with a full list of endorsed candidates and incumbents, and see optometry’s advocates in action throughout the past year.

The growing strength and reach of the AOA-PAC is a major reason why the AOA is consistently named by Washington, D.C., insiders as one of the top advocacy organizations in the nation’s capital. However, with less than 9% of AOA members enlisted as 2022 AOA-PAC investors, optometry’s opponents may be gaining ground.

The elections may be over, but the AOA-PAC’s work continues. Hundreds of incoming lawmakers are starting outreach for help retiring campaign debt. Please consider making your 2022 AOA-PAC investment today, either online or by texting “EYES” to 41444.

“It’s truly inspiring to see so many of our colleagues come together with one voice under the banner of AOA-PAC, to have such an impressive impact on House and Senate races across the country and help make the new 118th Congress the most pro-optometry one yet,” says AOA President Robert C. Layman, O.D.

“But now the real work begins. Please take a few moments to commit to getting even more involved in the AOA’s advocacy, now and into the new year. Help us encourage even more of our colleagues to join the effort, too—together we can continue fighting and winning for our patients and profession,” Dr. Layman adds.

As Congress enters its post-election, lame-duck session, the AOA continues advocating to: 

Support the AOA’s federal advocacy

Optometry’s advocates are needed to help ensure the profession’s priorities are heard in the 118th Congress. Here is how you can get involved: 

  • Access the AOA’s Action Center. Familiarize yourself with the AOA’s priority advocacy issues and take action directly with your lawmakers. Text “AOA” to 855.465.5124 to join the fight from your mobile device.
  • Become an AOA Federal Keyperson. Help connect incoming members of Congress with representatives from your profession. Contact the AOA Advocacy Team to learn more about how you can become an AOA Federal Keyperson.
  • Find your AOA Federal Advocacy Representative (FAR). Use the AOA’s interactive map to locate your state’s FAR, introduce yourself and ask how you can get more involved in your state’s efforts to support the AOA’s federal advocacy.
  • Invest in AOA-PAC. Use your eight-digit, AOA membership ID number and log in from your computer to make an immediate investment to support the profession. Please consider an immediate $50 investment.

*Contributions to the AOA-PAC are for political purposes and are not tax deductible. Only AOA members and other eligible persons may contribute. Contributions will be screened and those from non-eligible persons will be returned. You have the right to refuse to contribute without fear of reprisal. You will not be advantaged or disadvantaged because of how much you give or because you do not give.

South Carolina Optometric Physicians Association staff and leaders pictured in Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol with Rep. William Timmons, R-S.C., during AOA on Capitol Hill 2022.

AOA members, Andy Stephens, O.D., and Jeremy Durham, O.D., pictured with Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan.

AOA and Illinois Optometric Association doctors and staff with Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

Bob Bittel, O.D., Ed Brajdic, O.D., Alexa Ives, O.D., show support for Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa.

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., at AOA on Capitol Hill, addressing fellow doctors of optometry and optometry students.

Illinois Optometric Association and AOA members Vince Brandys, O.D., and Connor Robbs, O.D., with Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.

Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., receiving his 2022 AOA Health Care Leadership Award from the Georgia delegation at AOA on Capitol Hill.

Denise Roddy, O.D., hosted an event for Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla.

Lauren Haverly, O.D., Pat Wellik, O.D., and Annika Anderson, O.D., present Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., an AOA Health Care Leadership Award.

Gary Ellis, O.D., Mark Hansen, O.D., and John Weihe, O.D., pictured with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Mark Lee, O.D., and Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev.

Stephanie Brown, O.D., pictured with Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill.

Stephanie Brown, O.D., pictured with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

AOA member, Mark Shirey, O.D., attended an event for Rep. Jerry Carl, R-Ala., on behalf of AOA-PAC.

AOA Federal Keyperson Jennifer Crown, O.D., with Rep. Kim Schrier, D-Wash.

Jamie Hill, O.D., and his wife with Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C.

Cynthia Yin, O.D., with Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Mo.

Jeff Michaels, O.D., Daniel Gray, O.D., and AOA advocacy staff met virtually with Rep. Abigail Spanberger's, D-Va.

Wayne Cannon, O.D., and Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C.

Mamie Chan, O.D., and Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-N.M.

John Coble, O.D., Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, and Tom Annunziato, O.D.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., with Page Yarwood, O.D.

AOA Trustee Belinda Starkey, O.D., traveled to Washington, D.C., to brief Sen. John Boozman, O.D., R-Ark., on AOA’s advocacy priorities in his Capitol Hill office.

Jeffrey Sonsino, O.D., with Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.

Jeffrey Sonsino, O.D., with Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.

AOA Federal Advocacy Representative for Arkansas, Matthew Jones, O.D., hosted an event for Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark.

Wayne Gilmore, O.D., speaks with Sen. Jerry Moran, Kan.

Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas.

California Optometric Association President Amanda Dexter, O.D., attended an event on July 18 supporting Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif.

Steve Scalise, R-La., with Chuck Nassauer, O.D.

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb. poses with AOA on Capitol Hill attendees.

Erik Mothersbaugh, O.D. Vince Brandys, O.D. and Christa Ojeda of the Illinois College of Optometry with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., with AOA on Capitol Hill attendees.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., with the New Jersey Delegation.

AOA Federal Keyperson Mark Hanson, O.D., of Texas with Rep. Jake Ellzey, R-Texas.

Rep. Andy Kim, D-N.J., with Maria Richman, O.D., and other New Jersey delegation doctors.

Left to right: Dori Carlson, O.D., Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., and Leslie Hellebush, O.D.

From left to right: Leslie Hellebush, O.D., Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Dori Carlson, O.D., and North Dakota Optometric Association Executive Director Nancy Kopp.

Lauren Haverly, O.D., Pat Wellik, O.D., and Annika Anderson, O.D., present Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., an AOA Health Care Leadership Award.

Rob Szeliga, O.D., and Jessica Durham, O.D., delivering an AOA-PAC check to congressional candidate, Andy Ogles, R-Tenn.

Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., and Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., with the Nebraska delegation.

Left to right: Executive Director, Oregon Optometric Physicians Association Geoff Knapp; candidate, U.S. House of Representatives Val Hoyle, ; Dr. Jim Hale, OOPA Past President, Valley Eye Care

Members of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians attended an event supporting Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. and AOA member Maria Richman, O.D.

Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., with AOSA member Claire Saylor and Pennsylvania Optometric Asscociation members Tracy Sepich, O.D., and Jessica Young, O.D.

Rep. John Joyce, R-Pa., with Pennsylvania Optometric Association leaders.

AOA Past President Peter Kehoe, O.D., with Illinois congrssional candidate Esther Joy King, R-Ill.

AOA President-elect Ronald L. Benner, O.D., and Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont.

AOA member Gary Gray, O.D., with Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., with Harvey Richman, O.D., and Maria Richman, O.D.

From left to right: Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., AOA Past President Peter Kehoe, O.D., and Sen. Join Ernst, R-Iowa.

Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-N.M.

Rep. Melanie Stansbury, D-N.M., and AOA member Mamie Chan, O.D., and her family.

Robert Brenart, O.D., Gabrielle Szwajca-Drewiak, O.D., Vince Brandys, O.D., Greg Pappas, O.D., attended a Chicago River Cruise with Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

AOA members with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Illlinois AOA Federal Keyperson Vincent Brandys, O.D., attended an event at Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C., supporting Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.

Michigan doctors and leaders meet with Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

WVAOP Vice President-elect Laura Suppa, O.D., and WVAOP President Shawn Sammons, O.D., with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Mrs. Gayle Manchin.

Michigan doctors and leaders meet with Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich.

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