Election Notes

Election Notes and Opportunities: Nov. 7, 2008

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual; House and Senate Democrats Expand Presence; Congress Names Health Care Priorities.

 A message from AANP Lobbyist Jan Lipsen of Counselors for Management.

There are 11 weeks until the President Elect takes the oath of office. In this interim period, he and his transition staff will be appointing a cabinet, White House staff, and administrative support for the President and Vice President. Every appointee has to go through a clearance process including interviews that may seem more like interrogations, and they have to respond to requests for detailed financial reports

Obama has already named Representative Rahm Emanuel to be his Chief of Staff. Emanuel's district is on the north side of Chicago and runs from the lakefront to O'Hare airport. The Congressman is the son of an Israeli immigrant. He worked for the Congressional Campaign Committee in 1985 and for Mayor Richard Daley, before joining President Bill Clinton's campaign in 1991. He was rewarded with a high level staff post in the Clinton White House. He is respected for his political acumen, and sometimes criticized for his arrogance. In the heath arena, he has challenged the pharmaceutical industry, cosponsoring a House-passed bill that would have allowed Americans to import prescription drugs.

The 110th Congress has not yet adjourned, but the 111th Congress will soon begin to organize. In the Senate, Democrats and the two Independents who participate in their caucus will increase their majority from 51 seats to 56 seats. Four seats remain too close to call. House Democrats will expand their majority with 19 new House Members, increasing from 236 seats to at least 254. Eight House races are still undecided.

Congressional leaders are committed to using their new power to join President Barack Obama in an agenda that includes heath care reform. It is likely the new Congress will want to begin its work with bills previously blocked by President Bush, including expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program and embryonic stem cell research.

This is the best time to congratulate your elected Representatives and let them know you look forward to meeting with them. If you did anything for their campaign or the new Administration, be sure to let them know. You might offer to brief them on the role that naturopathic doctors can play in resolving many of the issues central to the increase in chronic illness. All of this is clearly defined in H. Con. Res. 406, so write today and ask them to cosponsor the resolution before Congress adjourns!

Write your Member of Congress Now.