ICYMI: COVID Survivors for Change, Health Care Voter Turn Grief Into Powerful Advocacy

April 5, 2021

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ICYMI: COVID Survivors for Change, Health Care Voter Turn Grief Into Powerful Advocacy

This morning, POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein published a story profiling the inspiring COVID survivors with whom Health Care Voter partnered last month for a Senate lobby day ahead of the American Rescue Plan’s passage. Ollstein’s story details how the advocates with COVID Survivors for Change are building the next frontier of grassroots lobbying. The piece includes quotes from Health Care Voter Co-Chair Laura Packard on her lobbying experience, Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath’s advice to advocates on building a long-term sustainable movement during the lobby day training, and lobby day participant Trish Zimmerman on what drives her to advocate for COVID relief.

Read the full piece

Some excerpts:

Laura Packard, Health Care Voter Co-Chair

“Laura Packard, a cancer survivor who became a leader of the pro-Obamacare advocacy group Health Care Voter and helped train the Covid activists, said pandemic restrictions have created other obstacles.

‘I had the opportunity at the end of 2017 to talk to my senator about his health care votes and was thrown out of his town hall,” she said, referencing a confrontation over the Affordable Care Act with former Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who went on to lose his bid for reelection. “That’s not possible now — it’s all on Zoom.’”

Trish Zimmerman, COVID Survivors for Change Advocate

“I couldn’t save my dad,” said Trish Zimmerman, whose father died of Covid in January and who had never lobbied an elected official before setting up calls with her Pennsylvania senators in March. “But I might be able to save your dad by forcing people to understand what we’re going through and what we need.”

Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA)

“Once they’re able to get moving again, I expect there will be an explosion,” said McBath. “There are a whole lot of survivors who are going to be willing to speak out and demand change and demand that we be better prepared for anything like this that might happen again.”