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SEIU LOCAL 250 VISITS THE CAPITOL! Thirty-eight days past the State's budget deadline, Local 250 members from around northern California met to lobby the State Legislature. We didn't have money to hand out, but we had numbers and strong emotion about potential cuts in health care spending. Most of us have experienced "cuts in health care spending" in our hospital workplaces, and we know the negative consequences that brings in terms of staffing and patient care.

When you hear of "special interest lobbying" in the media, you never think that it might be you, but on this particular day, it was us. As citizens and taxpayers, we have the right to make our views known to our elected representatives, and we did.As members of a healthcare workers' union, we definitely have a special interest, healthcare, but if what we are lobbying for fails, the consequences will be felt by many more than ourselves.



We met at the Westminster Church across from the State Capitol Building to learn about projected budget cuts and who would be affected by them. Med-Cal, DSH, mental health services and home health are among the services that could be cut. On the day we met, the Senate had already passed a budget (in late June), but the Assembly had not yet acted on it. Our assignment was to speak to every Senator and Assemblyperson in the Capitol (or their staff person) and either thank them for supporting health care in the budget or ask them why they didn't, depending on what was thought to be their current position.



  Bill is the SEIU person who briefed us on the state of the budget and our lobbying strategy.


  Morgan detailing the lobbying game plan: small groups were assigned Senate and Assembly offices on each floor of the Capitol, with a list of who has supported the Senate budget and who did not (all Assembly Republicans).


  Setting off for the Capitol, we look a little wary here... We are healthcare workers, not lobbyists! But, maybe it's time for everybody to be a lobbyist if we care about what happens in our state.


  Final words being spoken by SEIU Local 250 staff person before the group heads off to the Capitol.
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