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May 7, 2007

Mr. Hicks goes to Washington, by Jay Hicks

Words cannot describe the experience of attending my first R.T. in D.C. advocacy event. In my nine years as a radiologic technologist, I have achieved and experienced quite a lot. However, I am overwhelmed by a sense of revitalization and renewal of enthusiasm for the profession because of my R.T. in D.C. experience.

This was the first year Louisiana had anyrepresentatives at the event. I was one of three Louisiana R.T.s who attended, and what a great time to be involved! I had worked on supporting the CARE bill at the state level before going to Washington, but I had been frustrated making appointments to visit with representatives and senators when they were home. In contrast, I will not soon forget my experience on Capitol Hill. Our advocacy group thought we would finally be able convey our cause to our representatives. We spoke face-to-face with legislative assistants, staffers and even one representative. We had extremely positive interaction with all the people we met.

One thing that stands out in my mind about this event is the camaraderie of the 150 participants. As we walked between congressional office buildings and would see one of our own in a white lab coat, we got excited and asked about each other’s meetings. I have to admit that as the day went on I was somewhat jealous of others who would say, “I got one!” referring to a legislator agreeing to cosponsor the CARE bill.

As positive as our meetings had been, I wanted “one.” Finally, in my last meeting of the day after my state team had flown home, I met with my congressman, Rep. Rodney Alexander. After absorbing some information on the CARE bill, Mr. Alexander said, “Sign us up.” I had finally gotten one! It was the greatest feeling.

I want to thank all the people involved in this year’s event: the ASRT staff; Missy Whitley, B.S., R.T.(R); Nicole Harvey, R.T.(R); my fellow Louisianans; the Louisiana Society of Radiologic Technologists board of directors; and the ASRT Grass-roots Network for their diligence and support. And, of course, Rep. Alexander.

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