Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Events, Action and TRAINING!

September has flown by, and I am excited to share with you that October and November look to be really exciting months. September was filled with wonderful appearances, and some fabulous opportunities to share the International pageant and the Go Red program with people across the state of Arkansas. I ended the month with some really fun events. On Friday the 26Th I was interview for the television show "Living Local", hosted by Heather Kendrick. we were able to sit in my living room, and just have a really nice "girl chat"...that just happened to be filmed! Heather and I discussed the International pageant, my personal pageant journey, and of course my work with the American Heart Association! The show will air at the end of October. Then, on the final day of the month I was interviewed by Women's Inc. Women's Inc. is a statewide periodical that focuses on issues of import to women in all stages of life. I am very honored that they have chosen to feature me in their November issue, which is all about individuals who give back to their communities. Mother and I were featured as "cover girls" for Women's Inc in 2005, and our story of commitment to educating women to the dangers they face from heart disease was the topic. I am thrilled and so honored to be back in their pages, this time as Mrs. International 2008. This interview focuses once again on my work with the AHA, but also the Mrs. International system and what sets it apart from all other systems.
October starts out with a bang! Thursday evening is the AHA's Festival of Wines, which raises $200,000 annually for heart disease research and education programs in Arkansas. I'll be there making an official appearance, and working behind the scenes. Friday night I have the annual CASA "Festival of Chairs", and the launch of the Greater Arkansas Heart Gallery. We are so excited to finally be launching the Heart Gallery, after months of planning and preparation. Then, it's off to Austin Texas for me for the AHA's multi-state lobbyist training. This training actually prepares and qualifies me to lobby in several states. I'm thrilled to be branching out with my legislative duties. We then have our first full committee meeting of the Legislative Advocacy committee on the 22ND, and will have the AHA vice-president of Legislative Advocacy, Terri Bloussard, with us. That is both exciting and stressful for me as the chairman of the committee.
These next few months are going to be full and fun! I'll do my best to keep you posted. Thanks to all of you for the continued emails of support and encouragement.

Statewide Trauma system needs your help!

Heart disease is the #1 killer in Arkansas and stroke is #3. However, many lives can be saved by creating a statewide trauma system that will improve the transport and treatment of heart attack victims. Quick transport and effective treatment can be the difference between life and death for a cardiac patient. Tell your lawmakers to help create a statewide trauma system. Currently there is no statewide system that provides the necessary EMS transport and treatment for individuals that may suffer traumatic injuries including heart attacks and stroke. This issue needs to be a priority for all lawmakers as they develop their agenda for the upcoming legislative session. Please help get this issue on their radar today.

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.


If there is one thing our legislators know by now, it is that You're the Cure advocates are tough to ignore- and yesterday, Congress showed us that they have been listening. The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the HEART for Women Act by a unanimous voice vote, bringing us one big step forward in our mission to see the bill become a law. Congratulations! It was your action on this important issue that has brought us to this point. As every good advocate knows though, with the celebration of crossing one hurdle comes the call to action to get us over the next one. The full House of Representatives could vote as early as next week to pass the bill and send it to the Senate, so our Congressmen and Congresswomen need to hear from us! Urge the House to swiftly pass the HEART for Women Act! The current session of Congress ends soon, so we don't have much time. Your immediate action is necessary to keep the pressure on the House to consider the bill at its earliest available opportunity. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the women close to your heart. Every email you send, phone call you make, or visit you go on raises awareness about the critical need to address the cardiovascular diseases that claim the lives of nearly 460,000 women each year. Margaret Mead once said "Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has"- and you and your fellow You're the Cure advocates prove that every day. Keep up the good work!