Among the 550 dentists and state dental leaders at the annual Washington Leadership Conference last week in Washington, D.C., were Kansas Dental Association members and past-presidents Dr. Brett Roufs of Newton and Dr. Hal Hale of Wichita.
American Dental Association President, Dr. Robert Faiella opened the conference by urging the dental leaders to “tell dentistry’s story” as they met with elected officials and staff during the week.
Among the opening day meetings was a discussion of ADPAC and strategies for increasing participation in ADPAC to twenty-five percent.
“This would makes us the largest healthcare PAC in the world,” Roufs said. “The Wall Street Journal recently touted ADPAC as one of the most influential PAC’s in Washington, a label we on the board and members of the ADA will wear proudly.
On the second day of the WLC, dental leaders congressional speakers from both sides of the aisle as well as Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
“From their speeches it was easy to see why the is such gridlock in DC at this time,” Roufs said. “The ideals put forth during their speeches were very diverse and showed that there is plenty of room for compromise but neither side is willing or ready to compromise on their beliefs and agendas. “
The KDA delegation met with each of the six offices of the Representatives and Senators who represent Kansas.
“All of our visits were with the staff people of our congressional leaders other that Rep. Huelskamp who took the time to see us in person even though he arrived back in Washington shortly before our meeting after being home in Kansas for the weekend,” said Roufs. “The ADA gave WLC attendees a good deal of information and talking points to discuss with our congress people that will allow anybody to give a short presentation to interested parties. The current format of the WLC is short and very condensed program but still allows enough time to make visits that are needed if you work efficiently and stay close to a previously arranged schedule.”
The final day of the WLC is to allow for any visits that were not completed on Tuesday and since Kansas only has 6 congressional members we usually get our visits done in one day. Wednesday is often used as a travel day so that people can get home and still work in their office 1 or 2 days even after attending WLC.
“The WLC can be a very useful tool in communicating with our US congressional members,” Roufs said. . “I have been more that once and this particular conference was very upbeat and informative to all members. This is a conference that should be attended regularly and is a good way for the ADA to get their message out to our congressional leaders.”
Finally, dental leaders heard from political analyst Charlie Cook who spoke on past elections and offered insight on future elections.