This past Tuesday I traded off a shift, drove to Austin to participate in my first First Tuesday, a Texas Medicine ongoing effort to have Texas docs (and their TMA Affiliate spouses) meet Texas Legislators.
Short version: I had fun, there were a lot of members there (I think they said 240, which is the biggest number yet), Texas Legislators are smart and personable, and I may do it again.
We met at TMA HQ, 3 blocks from the State Capitol, at a bright 7AM. There were welcoming addresses from the TMA Affiliate President (from Fort Worth), the TMA President (from Bryan), and then a presentation from the real lobbyists about the major issues we were being asked to present to the legislators. Frankly, all this was news to me, so it was interesting and educational.
We had an amusing and excellent ‘How to be a Lobbyist’ presentation, then divided into groups to go politic. I went with 1/2 of my county group, walked over, and met with a Senator’s legislative assistant, and 4 representatives. Even the one who said he was going to vote against us on one issue was very pleasant about it, and the much more experienced politickers said politely we’d agree to disagree.
Then we went to the House Chamber, to be recognized by the House. Unfortunately, after about an hour and ten minutes we realized it wasn’t going to happen (the first hour of the session is dedicated to just such announcements). So, off the the Senate chamber, where we barely got in time, then were recognized by Senator Nelson, then had a big group picture, and it’s lunch time.
I was, by then, exhausted. I’d been on a string of nights, getting up at 0530 was the equivalent of time travel for me, so I got the lovely wife from the hotel, and napped on the ride home.
It amazes me that there were that many Texas docs from all over the State who took off at least a day to present the agenda of Texas Medicine, and Texas Patients. Good for them!