|From left: U.S. Representative Eshoo, House Minority Leader Pelosi, Al Pross, and Stewart Ferry|
Throughout 2012, MS Activists have contacted their legislators on Capitol Hill, participated in Society events, and met face-to-face with legislators at the state and federal levels during the Public Policy Conference, state action days, and in-district visits. All of these actions are important to raising awareness about MS, supporting programs and services for persons with MS and their families, and helping fund research to find a cure for MS. This year alone, more than 15,000 MS Activists have sent roughly 30,000 messages to their legislators on Capitol Hill, urging them to support issues important to the MS community.
One MS Activist who met with key legislators this year is California MS Activist Al Pross. Al started his career in politics in 1963. Throughout his career, he worked for eight different legislators, ran campaigns, directed clinical action committees, lobbied, and consulted for various organizations regarding lobbying and political action.
In October of this year, Al met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-8) and U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (CA-14), a member of the MS Congressional Caucus, in Representative Pelosi’s San Francisco office. Al has known Representative Pelosi, who is his U.S. Representative, since working together in the early 1980s. Al and Stewart Ferry, the Society’s Director of Public Policy in California, met with Representatives Pelosi and Eshoo for about an hour and discussed the importance of continuing to fund MS programs in the context of the fiscal cliff.
In 1996, Al was diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS. By 2000, he was unable to walk or stand and was using a wheelchair. At that point, Al became involved with MS activism and has stayed heavily involved since. Al has raised money for Walk MS and been a member of the Government Relations Committee for the Northern California Chapter.
“Having been involved in politics my entire professional career, I know first-hand the value of contacting, getting to know, and supporting if it is justified your Members of Congress and your state legislatures,” Al says. “Always keep in mind that all politics is local. Getting to know your local city council and county supervisor is a good start since at some point they’re likely to become members of the legislature or of Congress.”
Thank you, MS Activists for all of your hard work in 2012. Happy New Year!