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Posted on 12-01-2016

Defining Success in a World of Failures

With 2016 winding down to its inevitable conclusion, taking a look back and a look forward seems appropriate.  There’s so much to this journey into the past and future though, this week I want to feature the activities of a perhaps less well known member of your GA team and her importance to our legislative success.

Monica Miller – CCA Lobbyist

Monica Miller has represented CCA as our lobbyist for 16 years. Up until this year she was part of a large lobbying firm, but left this year to start up her own firm, Sacramento Advisors.  Her loyalty to chiropractic and CCA over all these years has paid big dividends for us.

Many of you will remember the budget frays in 2003. Monica was instrumental in keeping chiropractic in as an optional benefit and later restored the provider rate reduction. She convinced Secretary Belshe that it would be foolish to eliminate chiropractic given how cost effective it is for the system; which the Secretary was later quoted saying in the Sacramento Bee.

Many of you may also recall in 2008 when she led the charge to kill a bill that would have allowed physical therapists to have direct access to patients who self-refer without a diagnosis.  The bill had no restrictions on treatment. 

For those of you practicing in the geographic trucking transportation hubs of California, I know you remember 2013 when chiropractic won the right to be able to administer the Department of Transportation (DOT) pre-employment physical exam.  For a lot of you this constitutes the lion’s share of your revenue as chiropractors.

Monica With Speaker Of The Assembly Toni Atkins

I can go on and on listing the great work Monica has done for chiropractic over the years, but it’s easier to provide a link to the highlights for those interested in the complete list

What I would like to share with you is the context of all these victories.  Context is critical to truly understanding nearly everything in our lives. 


Paving The Way To Success

Each year over 3,500 pieces of legislation are introduced by legislators.  Governor Schwarzenegger never signed more than 762.  This means only 22% of bills introduced were signed into law.  That’s a lot of failure.  Now some of us might think this is good news.  How many new laws do we really need?  My point is getting any wins in this domain are huge.  Take into account how many opportunities for failure exist just navigating the committee, fiscal, and budget processes of two houses of the legislature and you can begin to see the context I’m referring to.

If legislators or staff were evaluated solely on the number bills they got signed into law, every one of them would be fired.  Even in baseball, where failing 70% of the time means you’re a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee, a 22% success rate would send you to the minor leagues. 

The legislative process has been characterized by the media and public using a lot of colorful adjectives.  Most of them extremely pejorative characterizations.  After all the years, I’ve worked in this domain I think the fairest way to describe it is, it’s HARD to get a law enacted.  It’s as simple as that.  The vast array of tools we use to get things done and the amount of resources expended are mind blowing.   But no one is successful all the time.  The numbers prove no one is successful hardly any of the time. Including our adversaries.

I remember sending virtually the same bill to a Governor four consecutive years and having it vetoed every single time.  Four years of work just getting it to the Governor’s desk.   I never added up all the hours I spent staffing that one piece of legislation because I didn’t ever want to let it be a point of discouragement.  The issue was too important to let its current failure impede its inevitable success. 

During the fifth year, Congress passed a law that accomplished virtually the same thing as our bill, and the fifth year the Governor signed our bill conforming California law with Federal law.  We were ahead of the curve on that one, but we never let failure get in the way of success.  Most importantly, we always believed our failures paved the way for that success.  We began that journey as a lone voice in the wind, and in the end created a hurricane of voices that couldn’t be ignored.

Monica started in politics about the same I did, back in the very early 1990’s.  She worked in both houses of the legislature, like I did.  Learning and honing our skills at the hands of legends like Willie Brown and David Roberti.  Monica was also instrumental is recreating the California Women’s Caucus.  When she went into lobbying in 1999, she focused on healthcare, budget and finance issues.  Many of you are also probably unaware of Monica’s philanthropic endeavors.  She Chairs an organization which raises money to assist inner-city youth and is the Vice Chair of the University of California, Davis’ Community Advisory Board.

If you have an opportunity, please don’t forget to show a little appreciation for all that Monica has done, and continues to do for chiropractic in California.  She’s an integral part of your GA team.

2016 Final Legislative Scorecard Coming Your Way Soon

Speaking of legislative successes, it’s that time of year again when CCA puts out its annual legislative scorecard.  Monica, Michelle, myself, our Chair of the Legislative Action Committee, Dr. David Paris and others have been hard at work on this new tradition at CCA.  This is an opportunity to let all our doctors, legislators, and legislative staff know how the legislators voting record reflected their support of chiropractic.

We expect to have this out in print by the end of next week, so I’ll talk more about it in next week’s Corner when we’ll provide a link to the completed publication.

Student ChiroCon – January 24, 2017

With the Christmas holiday season quickly approaching it can be easy to overlook the immediacy of the new year’s business.  Not so here.  We are working to launch our first ever student CCA lobby day at the Capitol January 24.  As mentioned in the past, the students will play a critical role in our strategic advocacy plan for 2017.

The students focus will be on educating legislators and staff.  Their focus will be conveying why they want to become chiropractors and the rigorous curriculum that will prepare them for practicing.  I’ve heard these personal stories and they are moving and inspirational.  Our legislators and their staff will benefit from this experience.  Further, when we follow-up the student lobby day with our annual Legislative conference March 7, we will be more effective when lobbying specific policy issues.  Our students will have conveyed vitally important information and more importantly perhaps, built positive relationships.

When I said the vast array of tools we use to try and get things done, and the amount of resources expended are mind blowing, I wasn’t kidding and I wasn’t referring to everybody else.  My focus has always been on maximizing our resources, thinking creatively, and implementing action, to put us in the best possible position to achieve success.

I have no intention of having CCA languish in the minor leagues just because the system is designed to make success so difficult.  We just need to keep in mind, success in this domain has an idiosyncratic definition.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print, and some that probably isn’t…for now.

Did you know we want your pro-chiropractic stories? Well, we do! Give a shout to Kayleigh Carey, CCA Marketing & Membership Coordinator at kcarey@calchiro.org or at 916.648.2720, ext 124. Kayleigh will fill you in on the details.

2016 California Chiropractic Association. All rights reserved. Please do not disseminate in part or whole without prior permission. Questions or permission to disseminate? Contact Cris Forsyth at cforsyth@calchiro.org.

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