N.H. voters elect Apria GM

Thursday, March 31, 2005

RAYMOND, N.H. — If you want to know what really works when it comes to lobbying lawmakers on HME issues, ask April Mason.
In November, New Hampshire voters elected the LifePlus/Apria general manager to the state’s House of Representatives. In January, she began work on the Health and Human Services Committee.
“I get inundated with mail,” Mason said. “You really see from a legislator’s perspective how much information comes their way, and I’ve been able to glean which way is most effective.”
When lobbying, forget email. Legislators receive so much of it that they don’t have time to read it all, she said. Sending mail to a lawmaker’s home is also iffy. Mason receives 10 to 15 pieces of mail to her home each day and gives most of her attention to local constituents. The best approach is visit the state house and deposit your information in her mail box there.
“Only a handful have done that, and for those that have you get the sense that they made the extra effort, and I’ve actually read it,” Mason said.
It’s also important that you keep your letter short and to the point.
“I get a lot of things that come in volumes, and I don’t even know what they are trying to tell me,” she said.
During her short time as a rep, Mason also has realized the power attached to her elected position. When she makes a call to another N.H. state or federal lawmaker, people listen. That’s proof, as HME leaders have stressed, that the industry needs to develop legislative champions to carry its message to other lawmakers.
“As soon as I use my title as Rep. Mason, people instantaneously want to talk to me,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity to use the position to advance the issues of the industry, which is my goal.”