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HIH Bob and Judy Joseph

Dynamic duo jumps from the frying pan into the world of activism

Bob and Judy Joseph of Honolulu joined more than 300 MS activists at the Society's annual Public Policy Conference in Washington, DC from March 12-14, 2007.  Charged with telling our elected federal officials about living with MS and the national policies that hurt or help them, the couple gleaned a great deal of information about the issues from intensive two-day workshops before heading to The Hill. 

Armed with new knowledge and enthusiasm, the Josephs met with key staff members in the offices of Senators Inouye and Akaka and Representatives Abercrombie and Hirono to ask for their support of four key issues:

1.     The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 (H.R. 3 and S. 5)

2.     Access to Life-Saving Medicine Act (H.R. 1038)

3.     A $15 million appropriation to the CDMRP for MS research. 

4.     Medicare Mobility Device Coverage

“Our congressional delegation supports these issues,” said Bob. “We know there are limited funds and the budget is tight. But it was so encouraging to see the support on these issues from our senators and representatives.” If these pieces of legislation are not approved and signed into law by the President, MS activists will aggressively continue their efforts. They will educate the public on why the legislation is needed. They will recruit and train more activists.

“The Conference was exciting and enormously informative. It is a key part of democracy to tell our legislators what issues are important to us.  More than anything else, I left the Conference knowing we need to take action,” said Judy. “We cannot remain passive. We need to do something about issues of importance to people with MS and others in need. We need to work on a local level as well as a national level.” 

Bob and Judy returned energized and with a number of ideas on how to advance our advocacy efforts. The dynamic duo is just getting started.  They have jumped from the frying pan…into the world of activism.

Sidebar:

Dr. Robert Joseph, an astronomer and former faculty chair at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, received a Public Service Medal from NASA for his work as Director of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea. Bob serves on the Division’s Government Relations Committee, and was one of two caregivers who met with local legislators in 2006 on caregiver issues.  He meets with them again at the 2008 Family Caregiver Awareness Day & Resource Fair at the Capitol on March14.

Judy, the owner of PZAZZ, a clothing consignment store, is the Honolulu Self-Help Group leader, a peer volunteer, a member of the Division Board and the Client Programs Committee.

Judy and Bob are on the Division’s speaker’s bureau, and are strong supporters of Society-sponsored activities and Promise 2010.