WALDO COUNTY CHAPTER
August 1, 2017
|Introductions||The 10 attendees were a diverse group of patients, community activists, health care professionals and concerned citizens, including Maine AllCare board member Jonathan Fulford, MAC Organizers Abbie Ryder and Chris Cayer.|
|Meeting Overview||The purpose of the meeting is to develop a local group that will create a Waldo County chapter of the Maine AllCare organization.||The group expressed a desire to form a Waldo County chapter of Maine AllCare.|
|Background on Maine AllCare||Jonathan Fulford provided an overview of Maine AllCare (MAC) and the board he serves on. Maine is part of a national organization (Physicians for a National Health Program) with chapters in multiple states. Each state takes a direction that fits their population’s needs and political climate. Canada’s single payor coverage also started at the province level.
Maine AllCare is working toward a statewide legislative bill or referendum by 2020. LD 1274, an economic study to determine the baseline costs of universal coverage, has already been introduced by state Sens. Gratwick and Brooks. Jonathan said that three years ago he knocked on doors for his senate campaign and no one was familiar with single payor coverage. Last year, it was widely accepted as the correct solution! This is quite an advancement in two years, and shows that the idea has momentum!
The Maine near-term goal is to obtain 20,000 signatures of supporters to establish a strong base from which we can expand the education and advocacy efforts, probably moving on to referendum signature collection. 500 grassroots donors and 150 volunteers are additional goals. MAC also wants to partner with other like-minded organizations and groups, such as labor, civic clubs, advocacy groups, healthcare organizations, schools and churches. In the busy political year of 2018, MAC wants to be the designated vehicle for all of these organizations’ efforts to achieve universal healthcare coverage.
|Waldo County Chapter Formation||Maine AllCare is growing its chapters, now numbering 9, up from 5 earlier this year. Chapter volunteers are critically important. There are only two paid staff statewide – organizers Abbie and Chris. The volunteer statewide board and the two organizers see their roles as supporting activated chapters who can locally work to educate, engage and enlist individuals, groups, politicians and businesses. The next year is all about building a strong base of understanding, acceptance and volunteerism.
The early meetings will educate a core of volunteers about the issues and about MAC so that they can help recruit additional volunteers and supporters. Marilyn McWilliams is the board member responsible to directly train and support the chapters, and will attend our meetings. The next meeting will likely feature a short film and discussion, and more planning about what needs to be done to activate Waldo County.
The chapter needs to be self-sustaining, as the statewide organization is also trying to build a “war chest” for 2018 and beyond, and is not a significant source of financial support for any chapter. Volunteers, local contributions and in-kind assistance will be very important to a successful Waldo County chapter.
The Blue Hill chapter has their own website!
Local chapter leadership will need to be identified (volunteers needed!) and trained/supported. A local chairperson organizes and announces the meetings and interacts with the state level. A scribe takes minutes and performs other correspondence roles. A “data czar” enters the signature cards into an online database to populate mailing lists and volunteer efforts. Other positions can develop over time, such as an event coordinator.
· Tuesday Sept. 12th at 6:30 pm (90 min)
· Location to be determined! (Belfast library, Hutchinson Center, Crosby Schools, other possibilities?)
· This has been updated as of 8.4.17 – the new date set is Thursday Sept. 7th at 6:30pm. (90 min) The location is the Belfast Library in the Abbott Room.
|Event Planning||The chapter will focus a lot of attention on holding and being seen at events across the county. Fairs, festivals, farmers markets, community events and other venues where diverse groups gather are important for chapter volunteers to attend and distribute educational materials, and obtain supporter signatures for our mailing list. MAC is a 401(c)3 non-profit and so cannot endorse any candidates.
“Tabling” is the trained art of staffing an information table at a public event or other location, and speaking to others about the effort. An alternative when we are not able to set up a table is “clip boarding”, which is the same activity but on foot, with a clip board! Training for all volunteer activities will be an important part of what the chapter gets from the state organization.
Tabling at the Co-op, Belfast Art Walk and the farmers markets was discussed. A course offered at the Hutchinson Senior College might even be possible!
As we meet supporters and interested people across Waldo County, we will also want to be looking for people willing to tell their stories publicly, perhaps willing to be videotaped for our educational use. These are powerful stories and very effective in helping people to understand our cause.
A Google calendar has already been created for Waldo County and some obvious event opportunities have been entered.
- Tuesday Sept. 12th at 6:30 pm (90 min)
- Changed as of 8.4.17 by Abbie Ryder, New meeting time is Thursday Sept 7th at 6:30pm, Belfast Library, Abbott Room
Steve Ryan, Belfast
Waldo County Chapter Scribe