With all the hum hum in DC, I wanted to share my experience in advocating for yourself and those you love. I was taught very young to stand up and fight for what you believe in as long as you aren't hurting anyone else, be diplomatic in your methods.The purpose is to help not hurt. I want to share my story and hopefully help encourage others to fight too. If I am passionate about my cause I will fight til the end. I will first start on a local level,city council,county commissioners. I usually have a very positive reaction from them. They will be my advocate at that point. Then, I move up to emailing my state representatives on all levels. it takes about 2 weeks for them to reply and if they don't I call and politely ask if they recieved my email and what their position is on my cause. I do this in a non-offensive manner, if I make them mad its over.After a few more weeks I will call and ask how its going and the progress of my request.I am never a "pain" though. Just following up because this is very important to me.They deal with tons of people everyday so I keep that in mind too. I always keep records of my phone calls and file my emails, I may need to refer to them to remind whoever it is I'm talking to what our conversation was about. I have learned that I rarely actually speak to or get a reply from example the governor herself. There are people in these offices who's job it is to be the "PR" and handle this. They're easy to talk to on the phone. They know they are working for the people, and if they act otherwise I'll politely remind them, you are working for me! Next to marriage and parenting, advocating is one of the hardest tasks/jobs I've ever done. Patience is a must as is a look before you leap approach. One thing that helped me greatly is joining my local Arthritis Association and become an advocate on a state level. The leader sends me emails updating me on legislation and movement in DC, and what I need to do. I must say that at this point most of my advocating has been positive in getting my state reps to commit to my cause. So, persistance and us ALL sticking together fighting til the end will help us make progress in our cause or causes.