Let me begin by saying thank you to everyone for the warm welcome to the ANCOR family! And I mean that - ANCOR really does feel like a family. In that vein, I’ve been tasked with introducing myself and doing a little Congressional forecasting. So here goes…
As you may know, I was most recently the Director of Public Policy & Advocacy for Lutheran Services in America Disability Network (LSA-DN). LSA-DN is an incredible network of providers! One of the real perks of coming to ANCOR was that I get to keep working with many of those great members like Mosaic, Bethesda, LSS of Minnesota, and Cedar Lake.
For the past several years, I have held leadership positions in the national disability community. As a co-chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities’ (CCD) Long-Term Services & Supports Task Force, I co-directed CCD’s Hill strategy during the recent Medicaid per capita cap fight.
Now on to the stuff that you can’t read on my LinkedIn page. I live in northern Virginia with my husband Steven and two kids, Grace (4) and Sam (2). I’m originally from Corpus Christi, TX but have been in the DC area since 2008. Like many of you, I have a personal connection to disability that got me into this work. My uncle, my dad’s identical twin, has a disability. Although my grandma received prenatal care, the doctor did not even realize she was having twins until AFTER my dad, the firstborn twin, was delivered! And being from a very small family, I have witnessed and now personally dealt with the first hand challenges of navigating the system on behalf of a loved one with a disability.
As for my predictions for 2018, I think there will be A LOT opportunities for engagement with Congress! Medicaid will continue to be a target for the foreseeable future. I wish I could tell you otherwise. However, a few of my national disability colleagues and I are working on a “listening tour” of sorts on the Hill. We are meeting with Congressional offices of all parties and ideologies, from Rand Paul (R-KY) to Bernie Sanders (I-VT), to talk about how we can improve long-term services and supports for people with disabilities. No matter which side of the recent Medicaid battles, most members of Congress genuinely want to empower people with disabilities to live their best lives. We are hoping to harness that into real policy solutions.
I look forward to working more closely with you all and meeting more of you in person at the GR Retreat and Annual Conference. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me anytime!
Sarah Meek is ANCOR's Director of Legislative Affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.