Supporting Those Who Support Us
My election day experience
On Election Day morning, I set out with Ted Burnes of RADPAC along with two of Senator Pat Roberts' staffers to go door-to-door, encouraging people to vote. Senator Roberts has been an important advocate for radiology legislation in Congress, joining more than 40 senators to sign for support of low dose computed tomography lung cancer screening.
RADPAC was glad to support the senator in his reelection bid. Although the task was time consuming and at times tedious, I was able to witness firsthand the effectiveness of this campaigning tool.
People were receptive and kind as we went from door to door. Most seemed to take an interest in politics. I also spent some time making phone calls at Senator Roberts' election headquarters, urging to people to go vote if they hadn't done so already. There, I met many of the senator's staffers, and I began to understand the passion they had in their cause and getting the senator re-elected. They also were very familiar with radiologists and acknowledged that we were arguably the most tenacious and passionate of all medical subspecialties in what we believe in and what we are trying to accomplish on Capitol Hill.
The atmosphere on election night was electrifying. We were invited to a watch party, which was comprised of Senator Roberts' close family, friends, and staffers. Everyone was incredibly nervous leading up to the election results. The room exploded once the results were called. Hugging, cheering, and chanting filled the room and continued leading up to Senator Roberts' victory speech. We celebrated the victory into the wee hours of the morning. Senator Roberts and his wife, Franki, arrived to thank his staffers around midnight. The senator gave another mini-speech, calling his staff not only his friends, but his family. He also stopped to thank ACR staff member Ted Burnes, and it was evident that the two shared a friendship in addition to a professional relationship.
When first presented with this opportunity, I did not know what to expect. And I was not certainly cognizant of what running a campaign fully entails. I learned that running for office and supporting a campaign is truly a labor of love. I was amazed at the dedication of the staff, who put in hard work, endured sleepless nights, and even postponed personal life plans until after the election. (One staffer can now go on her honeymoon!). The degree of dedication was astounding.
Overall, I had a fantastic Election Day experience. I encourage any member-in-training who has an interest in politics and radiology legislation to participate in political events. I was able to truly see why I voted for this candidate and why it is so important to become involved early in our training to support those who support us.
By Amy Patel, MD, resident at University of Kansas-Wichita and secretary of the ACR Resident and Fellow Section