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chucks-chair-webDear National Council Ambassadors,

Thank you all for being a part of an incredibly successful Hill Day 2015.

As Ambassadors, you work throughout the year to build relationships with your legislators and fine tune your advocacy skills. Earlier this month, those efforts were on display as you set the example of effective advocacy and demonstrated your leadership among your colleagues.

We loved seeing you here in DC. But, now we want hear from you. Tell us about your meetings. Does that National Council need to do any follow-up back here in Washington?

What was your overall experience at Hill Day? What can we do better for Hill Day 2016? Tell us here.

I look forward to hearing your feedback and insights.


Chuck Ingoglia
Senior Vice President, Public Policy & Practice Improvement



Ambassador Talking Points

When: Friday, October 30, 2015

Where: Your Inbox

This month’s Ambassador Talking Points will provide you with resources you to need to follow-up with your legislators. As National Council Ambassadors, you agreed to meet with your Members of Congress three times a year. Having one of your three meetings at Hill Day, now is the time to schedule your next meeting and we have the tools to help make it successful.

National Council Conference 2016

When: March 7-9, 2015

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

If you haven’t already registered for NatCon16, March 6-9 in Las Vegas, NV, do it today! Join your colleagues at the largest behavioral health conference of the year. The National Council is looking to provide you with advocacy-focused workshops, roundtable discussions and star-studded events. Register today.


Thank you to this month’s outstanding Ambassadors, our Hill Day State Captains!

These Ambassadors went above and beyond, scheduling meetings with Members of Congress, corralling their state delegates, and teaching others how to be effective advocates. Thank you to our Hill Day State Captains in helping make this the largest behavioral health advocacy day of the year!

Michele Peterson, CA
Robyn Garrett-Gunnoe, GA
Matt Brooks, IN
Steve Shannon, KY
Mandy Gilman, MA
Misty Snodgrass, MO
Victor Armstrong, NC
Teresa Lampl, OH
Charles Danley, OK
Lee Johnson, TX
Alisa Bernard, VA
Julie Tessler, VT


Did you attend Hill Day? Tell us about your experience.



When Paul Ryan Takes the Speaker Gavel, Who Takes His Chairmanship?

Later this week, the House of Representatives will move to elect a new Speaker – most likely Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. However, should Congressman Ryan assume the role as leader of the House, he will vacate one of the most sought after committee positions in Congress: Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. This influential committee oversees all federal legislation related to taxes, tariffs and national social security programs, including Social Security and Medicare.

So, who are the likely candidates to succeed Ryan as Chairman?

Despite the many elected officials who likely want the role of Chairman, there are just three names circling the halls of Congress:

Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX)

On Monday, the second most senior member of the House Republican Conference announced his intentions to run for chairman of Ways and Means. Rep Brady, who has been in Congress since 1997, currently serves as chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. In this role, Brady oversees all Medicare and welfare disability-related legislation including the Mental Health Access Improvement Act (S. 1830/H.R. 2759).

Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH)

Rep. Tiberi announced on Thursday night that “if the chairmanship opens up, he is definitely running.” As chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, he brings many of the same qualifications as his colleagues. Having served in Congress since 2001, he is highly regarded as one of the more knowledgeable members in the House on matters of taxation.

Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA)

The youngest of the three, Rep. Nunes has been serving California since 2003. Well liked throughout the conference, Nunes is the current chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence. This chairmanship makes him the least likely of the three to win the Ways and Means race, unless he decides to step down.

With one of the more interesting leadership races in Congressional history coming to a close, politicos now have a budding chairmanship battle to enjoy. The National Council will continue to update Ambassadors with the latest on this important decision.




Excellence in Mental Health Act
Last week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the 24 states that will receive funding as part of the Excellence in Mental Health Act demonstration program. When fully implemented, the Excellence Act will infuse over $1 billion into the behavioral health system, making it the biggest federal investment in mental health and addiction services in generations. These states now begin preparations to be selected as one of eight states to participate in the two-year pilot program. Did your state receive funding? Find out here.

Congressional Appropriations
On Monday night, the White House and Congressional leaders announced they had reached agreement on a two-year budget deal. The agreement – the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 – would increase discretionary spending by $80 billion over two years, extend the debt ceiling until March of 2017, and make structural changes to Medicare and Social Security. Congress is expected to move on this legislation later this week. Stay tuned to the Capitol Connector for more.

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act
With more than 30 new cosponsors this fall, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) now has the support of over 70 Members of Congress. Of particular importance to Hill Day attendees, over a dozen of the new cosponsors signed on in the days following National Council Hill Day. CARA would provide a series of resources and incentives to help states and local governments expand addiction treatment, prevention and recovery efforts. Is your legislator signed on?

Mental Health First Aid
Support for mental health and addiction awareness training programs, like Mental Health First Aid, continues to grow on Capitol Hill. Funding for such programs was recently added as an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Al Franken (D-MN) and Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA). The Mental Health First Aid Act has added ten cosponsors from the House and Senate over the last months. Is your legislator is a cosponsor?



Making the Business Case: Presenting Your Organization as the Local Business That It Is

Each Ambassadors Brief aims to provide you with timely and useful information to make you a successful and effective advocate. This month, we wanted to highlight one of the breakout sessions from National Council Hill Day that we found most useful and relevant to your advocacy. “Advanced Advocacy: Messaging in an Era of Budget Cuts” was presented by Catherine Finley of Thorn Run Partners. Ms. Finley is a seasoned Capitol Hill veteran and knows successful advocacy from both sides of the table.

Find out her strategies for effective advocacy in this era of tightening budgets.

Develop long term relationships with Members of Congress.

  • Meet with your legislators throughout the year, both in DC and back home. Demonstrating your commitment helps set you apart from the rest.
  • Attend local town hall meetings or invite your legislators to attend events you host.
  • Connecting with Members of Congress and staff in multiple venues throughout the year will help build and strengthen your relationship.

Present yourself as a local business/employer.

  • Your organization is a local business and employer of voters in your legislator’s district. Highlight the number and types of employment opportunities your organization offers.
  • Explain how the community relies on you as a purchaser and provider of goods and services. Share district and statewide information with your legislators, comparing your organization to other businesses in your area.
  • Making the business argument helps refocus your advocacy efforts from that of funding health care to one of sustainable solutions for local businesses.

Develop relationships with non-traditional partners.

  • Develop relationships with other local businesses in the area, helping refocus the conversation.
  • Cultivate partnerships with leaders in the community, including local law enforcement and state and local elected officials.
  • Use these strategic partnerships to demonstrate the important role your organization plays in the community.



Here are a few thought-provoking articles and resources that we’ve come across recently. Happy reading!

Presidential candidates are addressing the opioid epidemic. A common theme is popping up in town hall meetings all across New Hampshire: what will presidential hopefuls do about the nation’s heroin and opioid epidemic? A recent article in The Guardian chronicles answers from all of the top candidates. Find out what your favorite candidate had to say.

So what actually comes with a political endorsement? As the presidential race marches on, candidates will continue to announce their collection of important political endorsements. But what do they mean? Do endorsements move votes or are they just for show? Found out here.