GroundTruth Blog

Report from Washington

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by Kristin Schafer

Washington DC is a funny place.

On the one hand, the energy and excitement of power is palpable: decisions are made here that affect people across the country and around the world. Smart people of all stripes dedicate themselves to creating, influencing, critiquing or reporting on policies that shape our society.

On the other hand, it's a bit of a bubble. To an outsider, the distance between the heady world of policymaking and the on-the-ground realities of people affected by those policies is painfully clear.

Part of our job as outside-the-beltway advocates is to find ways to bridge the gap. Like today, when I hand-delivered this common-sense message to White House staff from thousands across the country:

Mr. President, your cancer scientists say you should do something about cancer-causing chemicals. Please listen to them. 

Bringing voices of concerned citizens to Washington really can make a difference. In this case, White House staff agreed to put cancer prevention planning back on the presidential agenda, and to get input from PAN and other groups concerned about the links between pollutants and cancer.

We'll see where it leads — we'll likely need to deliver more than one dose of reality from outside the bubble. For now, we're thankful for all those who took the time to sign on. Together, we got their attention.

Kristin Schafer's blog

is PAN's Program & Policy Director. Follow @KristinAtPAN

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