The recent California lobby days were very successful and we feel we have made some great connections and started to build some excellent relationships. Nicole Hodson (NANP Executive Director), Julie Spero (President of NANP) and I went to the Capitol in Sacramento with lobbyist Randy Pollack. It was a whirl-wind tour of meetings over 2 days, with 16 women and men of the CA Assembly and Senate along with their staff members.
There is no new or pending legislation so it was a meet and greet. We met for about 15 minutes in each office and let them get to know what we as nutrition professionals do for our clients. Each of us talked about the health issues we work with and how we benefit our clients – demonstrating real world health issues being addressed through whole food nutrition. Nicole talked about the benefits of diet for ADHD, Julie about diabetes and diet and I spoke about the powerful impact diet has on anxiety and depression. Nicole also talked about the National Association of Nutrition Professionals / NANP and the board exam. Randy introduced the Alliance for Natural Health and other nutrition professionals, talked about AB575 (the CA bill introduced and defeated in 2011) and our concerns around the language that would prevent us from doing invaluable work for the people who need it most. We also made sure they understood that the majority of dietitians tend to work in institutional settings such as hospitals, prisons and schools, while nutritionists tend to serve the individual. We also talked about consumer choice.
- We met with Mary Hayashi, the Assemblywoman who introduced AB575 in 2011. We believe her Republican counterparts on the committee were opposed to AB575 and that they also received negative pressure from the Nurses Association.
- Assemblywoman Fiona Ma is a champion of many health causes like Hepatitis B and Diabetes. She has invited us to attend an upcoming ‘Women in Government’ event and is interested in using us as a resource for health related speakers and articles. We have invited her to our annual NANP conference, along with Assemblyman Jerry Hill, whose district includes the city of Millbrae where our conference will be held
- We met with Jazmin Hicks, a senate fellow in Senator Vargus’ office who authored a paper on “Policy on preventative health rather than palliative health”
- We met Assemblywoman Butler who banned BPA in bay bottles
- Senator Emerson’s office is reviewing a gluten-free bill for the department of public health and we had a long discussion with staff members while waiting for our meeting
- We had some healthy (no pun intended!) discussions with various well-read and informed legislators and staff members about the importance of breakfast, gluten intolerance, the effects of diet on rheumatoid arthritis, the connection between gluten and autism, diet and ADHD and horrible hospital food
We very much appreciate the support of ANH and the fact that they hired a lobbyist. All in all an excellent and informative two days!