US Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas’ 29th Congressional District visited a Houston WIC clinic on April 16. Garcia was hosted there by NWA member Zahra Koopaei, who is the WIC Bureau Chief in the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. Koopaei was presented with NWA’s Leadership Award for Advocacy Surrounding Public Charge earlier this month. One of the biggest issues facing WIC and WIC families in the Houston area is public charge. As she hosted the representative, Koopaei made sure Garcia understood how public charge was affecting the clinic’s participants.
US Rep. Sylvia Garcia (left) visits with NWA member Zahra Koopaei (second from right), WIC Bureau Chief in the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, and other department staff (names unknown) on April 16.
Koopaei took the representative's visit to another level by including the media. The Univision affiliate in Houston produced a story about Garcia's visit (in Spanish).
A visit by a policy maker to a local WIC clinic or other WIC site is one of the best ways to demonstrate what is happening on the ground in that policy maker's jurisdiction and to raise the challenges you are facing, whether it is public charge, clinic access, or other issues. If you have the capacity, invite the media to cover the visit as well, as Koopaei's clinic did.
NWA helped to arrange Garcia's visit. If you would like to invite a public official to your clinic and would like NWA's help in doing it (introductions, connections, advice, logistics, etc.), contact Kirsten Kelley, NWA's State Public Policy Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See more about hosting visits in NWA’s Contacting Elected Officials fact sheet, part of the larger Advocacy Toolkit.