The much-anticipated warm weather and activities are upon us. I live in Duluth, so when we start to see ships passing under the Aerial Lift Bridge it’s official: Spring is here! I am pleased to report that advocacy has been the driver of a great deal of energy in the Minnesota Chapter of the AAP these past few months. We had a robust attendance of more than 140 at our Pediatricians’ Day at the Capitol this year. Having the opportunity to learn more about our legislative priorities and meeting with Minnesota lawmakers enriches our advocacy experience, and the engagement was palpable this year. The Minnesota State Capitol has been literally buzzing with activity. It was a vigorous legislative session in 2019 with over 5,000 bills introduced. Thousands of those failed to meet deadlines, but many have made it through the relevant policy committees in the House and Senate. I want to acknowledge and thank all the pediatricians who have given testimony in the hearings for several relevant bills. We have a “deep bench” of participants and have been able to call on them with short notice.
In addition, many pediatricians have been speaking up at their local city councils on behalf of Tobacco 21 ordinances in the metro area and in greater Minnesota. Tobacco 21 ordinances would raise the purchase age for tobacco products to 21 and can help prevent or delay nicotine addiction. The pediatricians who are sparking conversation and encouraging change are the “boots on the ground” folks. You have been very influential in getting these ordinances passed. There are many pediatricians across the state that apply advocacy in their practice, schools, and communities. I thank you for your dedication and tireless efforts. I am currently reading a book about Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who lived a life emblematic of advocacy.
Even though she lived in the shadow of her politically accomplished brothers, she had a fervor for advocacy that resulted in the formation of the Special Olympics. She was described as impatient, insistent and formidable, qualities that led to a lasting legacy of social justice. It is with that same persistence and passion that we will continue to speak up and speak out on behalf of all children and families of Minnesota.