Thursday, January 29, 2009

Press Conference Pics

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View all the photos here and check out the commentary in the post below. Thanks to everyone that showed up both online and in person. What a great turnout and event. Stay tuned as we upload more photos from the event. Thanks!!
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Brian Bowser
Grassroots Coordinator

Smoke-Free Texas Press Conference

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Hello everyone...we're just getting set up at the capitol. Here is a map of the U.S. based on who is smoke-free. We hope to put Texas in the green column in less than 5 months

Just to remind everyone Smoke-Free Texas is a coaltion of groups including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Texas Parent Teachers Association, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and many more. But, AHA is well represented today. Above is San Antonio Communications Director Sandy Levy, Austin Communications Director Glen Huschka, and Austin Executive Director Alison Young.
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12:58 Suzanne Lozano, RN will emcee the press conference. Suzanne is a long time volunteer for the Heart Association has sat on the San Antonio Board of Directors and is currently a member of our State Advocacy Committee.
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1:15 Suzanne takes the podium. "This is not about the legal right to smoke – it’s about workplace safety. And the scientific evidence is clear and unarguable – secondhand smoke is dangerous and deadly. "
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1:19 State Represenative Myra Crownover (R-Denton) is up next. She is the bill author in the House and is highly committed to seeing HB 5 pass.
"House Bill 5 will save thousands of lives at no cost to business or to the State of Texas. In fact, it will save taxpayer money that the State is now spending on healthcare."
1:21 State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) is now speaking--he has authored the bill in the Senate. "Houston went smoke-free and the sky didn't fall..."
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1:25 About 250 supporters have shown up on a chilly Austin afternoon. State Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) is now speaking. Nelson chairs the Health and Human Services committee, her support is huge!
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1:27 Nelson introduces the man of the hour....Lance Armstrong. Lance jokingly remarks that he is going to quit racing and run for Gov in 2010...big laughs from the crowd. Having Lance's support is also huge.
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1:45 Press Conference is a wrap. They are now headed to a press briefing to answer questions and go over poll results.
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1:50 68% of Texans support smoke-free air for ALL workplaces including including bars and restaurants
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1:55 72 percent believe the rights of customers and employees to breathe clean air is more important than rights of smokers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Special Invitation...

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Join us at the Texas Capitol for a special Smoke-Free Texas Press Conference. This Thursday we will unveil the results of a recent statewide poll. Join State Senator Rodney Ellis, State Representative Myra Crownover, and world class athlete and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong on the Capitol south steps. If you plan on attending remember to wear red!

Smoke-Free Texas Press Conference
Thursday, January 29, 2009
1 PM

South Steps of the Capitol

If you can't make it you can do two things:

1. Click here to send a message to your lawmakers and ask them to attend the Press Conference and support Smoke-Free Texas.

2. Join us here at 1 pm on Thursday as we blog on the event. Get live updates from the Texas Capitol as we kick off our Smoke-Free Texas campaign.

Passing the Smoke-Free Texas proposal would eliminate smoking in all worksites in the state. Secondhand smoke has proven to cause heart disease, cancer, and other serious health issues. No worker should be forced to choose between their health and a job. Thanks for helping reduce heart disease and stroke in Texas.

Email me with any quesitons or comments. Thanks!

Brian.Bowser@heart.org

Friday, January 23, 2009

SCHIP Needs Your Help

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The massively popular and successful State Children’s Health Insurance Program needs your help.

Right now is a very exciting time for our Advocacy Department. State legislatures are back in session and Congress is ready to move on one of our top legislative priorities. Before the new President even took office, the House of Representatives passed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2009, legislation that would continue to provide coverage to the more than 6.6 million already enrolled in the program and expand affordable coverage to an additional 4 million children. We need the Senate to quickly pass SCHIP as well, but we need your help.

With just a click of a button you can send your Senators an email asking for their support. The AHA makes it easy:

1) Click here: http://www.capitolconnect.com/yourethecure/fastaction.aspx?AlertID=11769
2) Add a personal message to the template email message provided.
3) If you are already a You're the Cure member, just enter your last name an email address to take action
4) If you are not a You're the Cure member, just complete the form with your contact information so the system can link you to your Senators.

Heart defects are the most common birth defect in the United States, and stroke is among the top 10 causes of death in children. If passed the bill would ensure that children from low-income families who are born with these conditions are not denied the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives simply because their parents cannot afford health insurance. SCHIP also includes a state option to cover targeted low-income pregnant women through the program as a way to provide the essential prenatal care that can help reduce birth defects.

The Senate is expected to act as early as next week, so don’t delay and send your email message now!

Thank you for your support!

Help Improve PE in Texas

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With childhood obesity reaching epidemic proportions the time for action is now. The problem has many causes and it will take many different approaches to effectively solve it. Parents, teachers, schools, children, lawmakers, and others all need to be accountable. A report released by State Comptroller Susan Combs stated that obesity costs Texas businesses an estimated $3.3 billion due to health care costs, absenteeism, lost productivity, and disability. From a sheer business perspective we cannot afford to overlook this issue.

Obesity is of course a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, many forms of cancer and a host of other health problems. Most everyone agrees that it is imperative to stop obesity before it starts. Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

With the Texas Legislature back in session the American Heart Association will be supporting a bill that will improve physical education in the state. The bill will increase daily physical activity, require certified PE instructors, and strengthen PE requirements for students. Tell your lawmakers to support this and other AHA priorities during the 2009 Legislative Session

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