By Allison G. S. Knox
President-elect Joe Biden will take office on January 20, 2021, ushering in a new administration and era of government. This change in administration will create an opportunity for new policies to emerge and for the enforcement and administration of current policies.
Because there are numerous factors that directly affect the policy process, it is particularly important for constituents to let their local lawmakers know where they stand on important issues. Ultimately, constituents need to take time now to speak with their elected government officials, who can play an important role working with their state and federal colleagues on important public policies.
Understanding the Political Environment on Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill is rife with issues that contribute to the political climate. When a new president takes office, he makes important connections with other governmental officials as they work to create a new Cabinet and administration.
Additionally, incoming chief executives also appoint individuals to various positions throughout the executive branch, which further solidifies the new administration. Thus, they essentially create a network of individuals who will help them run the federal government. Their portfolio can often influence state and local governments as well.
While it might seem that local levels of government aren’t really connected to what’s happening at the federal level, this is simply untrue. Different governmental levels can work well together, despite the fact that local governments often experience more turnover than state and federal levels of government do. Nevertheless, mayors, county executives and governors have to work with new administrations, which creates opportunities to create far-reaching social and public policies.
Constituents Need to Join the Political Conversation
Where politics is concerned, constituents need to join the conversation. Whether it is by contacting their members of Congress, their state representatives, or their local government officials, citizens need to express their concerns to these individuals and start a conversation. Effective government at all levels requires establishing citizen relationships with elected officials. In many respects, these dialogues help to change the political climate in a positive way.
The 117th Congress of the United States was sworn in on January 3, 2021, ready to manage and alter the political fabric of the institution when necessary. As the newly elected members of Congress take office, many will be heading to Capitol Hill for the first time. New members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will be eager to begin work and are often eager to hear about their constituents’ concerns.
As such, the first few months of a new Congress are particularly critical in helping especially freshman legislators to understand the issues their constituents are concerned about.
Emergency Medical Services Need to Develop Relationships with Congressional Legislators
This is a particularly important time for emergency medical services (EMS) professionals to raise issues of concern, because legislators often do not understand the myriad issues associated with ambulance services beyond the current buzzwords like COVID-19 and opioid crisis. EMS professionals should work to create relationships with members of Congress in these early months. By doing so, legislators will gain a greater understanding of EMS issues and how both sides can establish relationships that will help down the road.
Without establishing these good relationships as soon as possible, it might be difficult later to gain the support in Congress when important EMS issues come to the forefront. Interest area needs should be communicated now.