Volleyball was my favorite sport when I was growing up. What I love most about it is the teamwork required to score points and win the game. You serve the ball over the net, and players closest to the net react as the first line of defense. The other team has three tries to get the ball back over the net, and each of those moves is designed to set up the next perfect shot that will carry the ball forward. In our campaign work at Center for Health Progress, there are some similarities in strategy in how each member of our team has a different, complementary role in working toward the win.
In June, Maggie explained the most important element of working toward a policy win--organizing people. The role of our policy work is to support our community organizing team by researching policies and helping navigate the political process. We engage legislators early and often to familiarize them with the issues, so when our communities come forward with a specific ask, policymakers are primed to listen and act in their constituents’ best interest. This year, we decided to collect data on how that’s going, in the form of a legislative scorecard.
In the scorecard, we evaluate how legislators voted on all of the bills Center for Health Progress engaged in during the 2019 legislative session. It shows us who our supporters are and which legislators have some space to grow to become health equity champions. One piece of good news is that not a single legislator voted against every bill we supported. In fact, 41 of Colorado’s 100 legislators voted in favor of every single bill we supported! And, we have many legislators who show a lot of promise in their support for and understanding of health equity.
We’re analyzing the scorecard and thinking about how we cultivate legislators’ support of the issues we care about. We want to ensure that legislators--especially those that represent the communities where we’re organizing--are supportive of our priority bills over the long term. And, if there’s room to grow, we can provide education and dialogue. We also want to examine any patterns in how legislators are voting--for example, are they voting positively on housing issues, but not food issues or immigration issues? If that’s the case, how can we broaden their understanding of what makes a community healthy?
Our work at the Capitol sets up our other work areas for success, and the scorecard shows that it’s paying off. Health equity issues were a major part of the 2019 legislative session, and through our Legislative Equity Program, strategic policy advocacy, and cultivation of relationships with key legislators, we’re building the political infrastructure we’ll need to win our campaigns. I hope you’ll check out our scorecard and see how your legislators are measuring up, then help us thank those who are championing health equity and raise questions to those who aren’t. As we begin preparations for the 2020 legislative session, I’ll be posted up at the net, doing all I can to help my team score!