For the next 36 days (from March 28 to May 2), I will be contacting and writing about 36 extraordinary members of the House of Representatives. They are all extraordinary in that they form the bipartisan Congressional Spina Bifida Caucus, and so they strive to address the unique needs of the spina bifida community in the U.S. My “mission” is to write to them, and urge them to make quality of life, and not solely prevention, a priority on their agenda in Congress. It has come to my attention that education about spina bifida is critical during all the stages of development– from planning to prevent spina bifida through the consumption of folic acid, to comprehensive education about spina bifida once it is diagnosed. We need to educate, starting with the physicians and other healthcare providers, so that they will be made aware of the potential that each child with spina bifida possesses.
Remind me to thank the great state of Illinois for giving us so many of our caucus members!
Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois is from my homeland, Puerto Rico. Enough said.
Ha, I’m only kidding! That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course. I can’t leave it at that. Even though Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens by birth, Congressman Gutierrez is an avid supporter of immigration reform and is very involved in helping resolve immigration issues. He’s a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, and is also a member of the Judiciary Committee. In addition to being a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Gutierrez is part of the Diabetes Caucus, the Coalition on Adoption, the Child Care Caucus, the Ukranian Caucus, and the Congressional Children’s Working Group.
Prior to being elected a legislator in 1992, Rep. Gutierrez worked as a teacher, and later as a social worker with the Department of Children and Family Services. He’s also Chair of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force, as well as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force, and has held workshops in his district to help approximately 40,000 people begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
I will be especially thrilled to be writing to a compadre!
Thanks to all of you for your constant support. If you have Twitter, please remember me for #FollowFriday! I’m @Laurita86.
**P.S. Important Update! Sorry, I almost forgot. I was encouraged today when I realized that my blog was mentioned on Rep. Cliff Stearns’ Web site! I’m so excited. This might mean he is one of those who is still an active member of the caucus, but I’m not entirely certain yet. Still, it’s awesome that they made a big deal out of this humble initiative.