Day 229- Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D, Maryland)

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.

It’s been a busy day, and not because I left the house briefly to grab a bite for dinner! (Seriously, that’s all I went out for today.) During most of the day, I engaged in a Twitter-palooza aimed at Ellen DeGeneres that was of galactic proportions (meaning I Tweeted her over 70 times)!

My logic tells me that many an “Ellen” guest has undertaken far more ludicrous feats in order to get on her show! I even threatened her with singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” That ought to make even the most stalwart of people give in easily! 🙂 We’ll see how that goes.

Now, on the subject of politics, tonight I’m writing about Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Unlike the rest of the Spina Bifida Caucus member so far, I couldn’t find many caucuses listed for this Congressman. That may be good thing, but it could also be a bad thing. On the Project Vote Smart site, I only found three caucuses listed in which he participates. While that might mean he is no longer an active member of the Spina Bifida Caucus, I can’t be sure, so I’ll write to him, just the same.

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Van Hollen has persistently backed important pieces of health and education legislation, such as IDEA.

A credentialed lawyer, he is a member of the American Bar Association. Rep. Van Hollen is Vice Chair of the Democratic Task Force on Tax Policy and the Budget. He’s also Co-Chair of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus.

Rep. Van Hollen has been a recipient of the Community Health Superhero Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers, in recognition for his “efforts on behalf of the uninsured and medically underserved Americans.”

During every House session, Congressman Van Hollen introduces a bill for the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act, “which would fully fund No Child Left Behind and [the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] (IDEA).”

Given his legislative background, I have a good feeling that Rep. Van Hollen will be interested in listening to what the spina bifida community has to say.

So, about my Twitter marathon today…

Tweets directed toward someone as prominent as Ellen mean nothing if others don’t ReTweet. That’s why I need your help. I have the unconditional support of some longtime friends (@FarmwenchCT, @Monumental13, @dutchstrong, and @julzharlz). These all ReTweeted many of the more *AHEM* serious-sounding Tweets to Ellen. I appreciate each and every one of you who continue to rally on my side when hope is often lacking.

I’d love it if all of you with Twitter accounts would follow me and ReTweet some of my Tweets from today! I’m an old-fashioned girl who, now more than ever, believes in “strength in numbers.” I saw that today, and I continue to see it with each day that I receive an E-mail, a Facebook comment, or a blog comment that reminds me just how much all of you appreciate me!

“Holdin’ Out for a Hero” may be the project I am undertaking as an adult, but it genuinely is my childhood dream in the making. And another childhood dream of mine was to be on “Oprah.” Now, it’s “Ellen” I want to be on. Or both, why not? So, without further ado, let’s get down to business!

Remember to show your Twitter love for this cause by following @Laurita86.

I love you all!

♥Laurita

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