Thursday, September 18, 2008

Keeping you up to date!

Such an incredible month! I must apologize for the lapse in updates to the blog. The weather here in Arkansas has been inclement, to say the least, and along with the storms that ravaged our town came an outage in my internet service. Those of you who know me know that this is a punishment almost worse than death! The internet is my right arm, so without it I am at a loss. But we are back up and running and I have many new exciting things to share.
I had lunch today with Barbie Kumpe, our lobbyist leader. Barbie has been out of the office for the last six weeks having total knee replacement surgery. She is back at the office, and slowly getting back on her feet. It was wonderful to sit down and get back to business with her. We were able to review all the initiatives for the upcoming 2009 session, and make plans for our upcoming committee meetings. We are putting together special task forces for each of the upcoming legislative issues, to try to really target the people/funds/strategies that will help us make the most impact. Our largest and most ambitious goal for this session is the increase of the tobacco excise tax. Arkansas could raise this tax by fifty cents, and only then be at the national average. Doing so would give our state the funds it needs to place AED’s in all public schools, create a statewide trauma system, and support additional childhood wellness programs. Passing only one of our financial initiatives could easily pave the way for the others to fall into place. I leave October the 13th for multi-state lobbyist training. I’ll be traveling the states this year helping advocacy groups enact change in their states.
I was also honored to be the guest speaker at the Arkansas Newcomers Luncheon September 11th. I was asked to present “Go Red for Women” to this group of 170 ladies, and was also able to speak to them about the AHA’s legislative issues for 2009. As many of them are in fact new to the state this was the first time they were hearing about the exciting activities that the AHA conducts on their behalf. I was able to recruit literally dozens of new members to both the Go Red campaign, and the You’re the Cure advocacy group.
On the fun and frivolous side of my year, I had the opportunity to travel to Dothan Alabama for my official Mrs. International head shots at the end of August. I got to spend two unbelievable days with Clay Spann and Joey Retherford; truly two of the most amazing talents in the pageant industry. Clay’s photos are just magical, and Joey is a wardrobe master! I am so honored to get to work with them both this year!
Kevin and I were honored to travel to Chicago Illinois for the Mrs, Miss and Teen Illinois International pageant. We were so pleased to be asked to judge this incredible group of women. What an amazing, but also amazingly difficult experience it was!
Enjoy the photos-I promise to try to do better with keeping you up to date.


Sasha Townsend, Mrs. Oklahoma International 2008 said...

Hi Laine!
Glad to see that everything is going so well for you. You're doing a great job on behalf of Go Red and the International pageants organization. We are proud of you!!
Keep in touch, friend!