It's spring in our nation’s capital, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom and it’s time for the third annual EMS on the Hill Day hosted by NAEMT.
At 5 p.m. on March 20, this year’s group of “delegates” signed in and picked up their packets of information, including a schedule for the following day’s congressional visits. Attendees gathered around their assigned tables where they were introduced to other members from their states’ contingents. All types of agencies were represented, including fire-based, third service, municipal and private. Four speakers walked us through a summary of the three items we were to discuss with legislators the following day.
After adjourning from the meeting, I attended a reception where I ran into Ron Pirrallo, MD, MHSA, medical director at Milwaukee County and president of NAEMSP. Being from the same state, we worked the Hill together two years ago. Ron explained then that his goal each time he comes to D.C. is to see something new, so in 2010 we toured the Library of Congress and Supreme Court building. The next day, after a couple of meetings, we had some time to kill and obtained passes to get into the Senate gallery.
It wasn’t a full house by any means, as only a few senators were actually there to speak, but to see the historic desks dating back to 1819 and realize that over 1,600 elected senators have occupied those seats to guide the greatest experiment in representative government in history is poignant and provokes reflection.
After that I headed toward my last congressional meeting of the day with a sense that I was not only making an impact on the future of EMS in the United States, but also catching a glimpse of how we got here.
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