Iowans with Disabilities in Action

Iowa Advocacy Connection - 2015 Issue 4

Issue 4, December 28, 2015

Articles in This Issue:


2015 Make Your Mark! Conference

More than 120 Iowans attended the ID Action Make Your Mark! Conference and are now ready to make an impact in their communities. Attendees went to sessions focused on leadership, storytelling, community engagement and the 2016 Iowa caucuses and left the conference ready to take action when they got home. Pictures from the conference can be found on the ID Action website (www.idaction.org) by clicking on “Make Your Mark!” on the homepage.

Marissa and Em Attendees visiting the exhibitor fair Adam enjoying a session Conference attendees listening to Senator Bob Dvorsky

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How Will You Make Your Mark?

Attendees at the 2015 Make Your Mark! Conference had the opportunity to share how they plan to make their mark in their communities when they leave the conference. Here is what they had to say:

  • I will make my mark by helping tell your stories – anonymous
  • Keep my job at Menards and tell my story – Cole
  • Make my mark by telling others of my possibilities – Larry W.
  • I’m going to caucus – Ann G.
  • Listen and participate, learn skills – anonymous
  • Using social media to promote advocacy and changes in the community – Monnie
  • Be more independent, get a job in the community and get people involved in advocacy groups – Jeremy B. 
  • Work with the support council to help others – Eric
  • Work to make the voices of those with disabilities living in Des Moines heard – The Stars & HAPI
  • Sharing what I know at other meetings – anonymous
  • Helping others with disabilities any way I can – Suzanne
  • Tell my story – anonymous
  • Make my voice be heard – Adam E.

We want to know how you are making a mark in your community. Tell us by posting to the ID Action Facebook page www.facebook.com/idaction or email us at contactus@idaction.org.

Hear from more attendees on how they are making their mark!

Thank you to our sponsors: Iowa Association of Community Providers, Lutheran Services in Iowa, University of Iowa Hospital – Center for Disabilities and Development, Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, LifeLong Links, Amerigroup and Iowa Caregivers. Without their support, we would not be able to offer this valuable resource to Iowans.

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Local Capitol Days

Iowa State CaptiolAre you part of an advocacy group that would like to visit the Iowa State Capitol to talk with your legislators? ID Action is offering Local Capitol Day grants to advocacy groups, which include 10 or more individuals with a disability, to meet with their legislators at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. Grants are available up to $500 to help cover the costs of transportation and accommodations for participation. Check out www.idaction.org to find more details and download the grant application. A limited number of grants are available, so please contact ID Action soon if you are interested. Local Capitol Day grants cannot be used to participate in other organizations’ lobby or advocacy days.

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Get Ready for the 2016 Legislative Session

Grassroots Action Center

ID Action’s public policy publication, infoNET, has added a new tool to your advocacy toolbox — the Grassroots Action Center. You do not need to know the names of your legislators, the governor or the people that represent you in the U.S. Congress. All you need is a physical home address, and the Grassroots Action Center will match you to your elected officials and automatically find their emails for you. You can then write your message and hit "send." It's just that easy. Try it out this year — go to www.infonetiowa.org/action to get started.

Advocacy Toolkit

If you are planning to visit the Capitol during the 2016 legislative session, the Advocacy Toolkit provides helpful information to get ready for your visit and helpful hints to continue your advocacy work when you’re back home. When advocating for issues you feel strongly about, don’t forget:

  • ID Action's Advocacy ToolkitYour opinion matters! This is your government and the process is better because you are involved. 
  • Do not be intimidated. You can be impressed by the building, the history and the institution, but you do not need to be intimidated when speaking to your elected official. Their job is to represent you. The only way they can do that is if you tell them what’s on your mind. 
  • All voters and constituents can have a voice and make a difference. Lobbying isn’t just for professionals and insiders. 
  • Your advocacy assures that important issues are not forgotten. Your representatives are learning about and making decisions on hundreds of bills each year, making it difficult to keep track of every issue.
  • There are endless ways to advocate! In addition to face-to-face meetings, use mail, email, Facebook, Twitter and your local newspaper to get your thoughts heard. 
  • Relationships are very important to increase your influence. Be sure to follow up your face-to-face meeting with continued correspondence. Have a goal of building a long-term relationship. 
  • Elected officials need you! Each day they are pressured to make important decisions, and they could use your encouragement and support. Remember, they are human, too.

You can find the Advocacy Toolkit by going to www.idaction.org and clicking on “Resources” on the homepage or by clicking here.

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Guide to the 2016 Iowa Caucuses - " What Will You Say?

Are you ready? The 2016 Iowa caucuses are just over a month away, and the nation is waiting to find out who Iowans will support in both the Democratic and Republican caucuses. This is your opportunity to let your voice be heard! “Iowans truly
set the tone of the presidential debate and the issues that candidates talk about. Iowans have a lot of power. This is a unique opportunity for Iowans with disabilities to let their voices be heard,” said Rik Shannon, public policy manager at the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council.

The caucuses are not just about picking a candidate for president; they are also a time when you get together with others in your party to talk about the issues that will make up the party’s platform. The party platform is produced by a political party to outline the party’s beliefs, values and positions on important issues. The party platforms start in the precinct caucuses. Anyone attending a caucus can offer a resolution that asks the party to take a position on an issue that they care about. Whatever your issue, you can influence your party’s stand on that issue by writing and submitting a resolution for consideration at your caucus. It’s not difficult, and it is one more chance to get your issues noticed and to make a difference.

ID Action has prepared two guides to get you ready to participate. One is a short one-page guide to provide you with a quick overview of what a caucus is and how to participate. The second is the 2016 Iowa Caucus Guide, a longer, more in-depth guide to the caucuses that will also help you evaluate candidates based on issues important to you. You can view these guides on the ID Action website (www.idaction.org) by clicking on “Iowa Caucus Guide” on the homepage or by clicking on the following links:
Guide to the Iowa Caucuses (One Page)
2016 Iowa Caucus Guide (Booklet)

We want you to get involved in the 2016 Iowa caucuses and the activities leading up to the caucuses. ID Action has created several initiatives to help you get involved.

  1. Debate-Watching Party Grants: Get 10 or more of your friends together and have a debate-watching party. Grants of $50 are available to buy food, rent a room or cover other expenses.
  2. Caucus Grant (limited number available): Grants of $150 are available for educational workshops, grassroots get-out-the-vote activities, candidate forums or other creative activities that increase interest and involvement in the Iowa caucuses. Have an idea? Contact us now.
  3. Online Links: Go to the ID Action website for links to the resources and information you need to become a more informed voter and effective advocate. Visit us at www.idaction.org.

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