ASCLS Political Action Committee (PAC) table
Volume 36 Number 5 | October 2022

Heather Santaniello, MLS(ASCP)CMMB(ASCP)CM, ASCLS Political Action Committee Trustee, ASCLS Ascending Professionals Forum Councilor-at-Large

Heather SantanielloIf you have been to the Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) or the Laboratory Legislative Symposium, then you have certainly seen the table decked out in red, white, and blue that draws your curiosity the first time you lay eyes on it. If you have not had the privilege to view this eye-catching display, you are probably wondering what I’m talking about when I say the red, white, and blue table. The table is set up by the ASCLS Political Action Committee (PAC) and is an important part of advancing, educating, and promoting the laboratory profession. It’s imperative that it thrives and continues to catch the eye of ASCLS members at not only the national meeting but constituent society meetings as well.

A little over a year ago I decided that I wanted to start volunteering with ASCLS, and as I was looking over the options, I decided on the PAC. I had an urge to challenge myself in an environment I was not confident in. It was refreshing to find that the purpose of the PAC lined up with what I wholeheartedly believed was important to help the profession I love. Let this first-time PAC trustee guide you through why there is a PAC table to set up and how to set it up.

As I share my experience navigating my first time setting up a PAC table at the Kansas/Missouri meeting, I hope it inspires others to recognize the importance of the red, white, and blue table at various meetings. I hope it inspires you to gravitate to it and help us advocate for the laboratory profession.

What is the PAC Table?

The PAC table is set up to ask ASCLS members to donate to the PAC so we can financially support candidates who are friendly to the laboratory profession and its needs. These contributions help us acquire attention for legislative issues that directly affect the laboratory profession. The PAC aims to educate lawmakers on the importance of having healthcare legislation, including legislation pertaining to the laboratory profession, as a priority.

A motto I have come to live by since joining the PAC and attending my first Laboratory Legislative Symposium is that if you are not advocating for your profession, then you are not advocating for yourself. This is why the PAC is so important to us as laboratory professionals. The importance of the PAC has been amplified since the start of the global pandemic. The government plays a vital role in the advancement and visibility of the laboratory profession. That is why it is crucial that state and regional meetings also have a PAC table set up.

How to Set up Your Own

The Patchwork of Knowledge is the joint annual meeting of ASCLS-Kansas and ASCLS-Missouri; this year it took place in the beginning of June in Olathe, Kansas. As a PAC trustee, it is my responsibility to set up a table at the meeting that includes my constituent society. Thankfully Fourth of July merchandise is usually out in stores around Memorial Day and stays out all the way until Independence Day. I take pride in everything I set my mind to, so just grabbing random red, white, and blue stuff was not an option. Yes, the table must catch the eyes of members at these meetings, and a lot of red, white, and blue will certainly do that. It must catch their attention and then spark their curiosity to come up to the table and find out what it is all about. I chose to use red, white, and blue stars as a theme of the table.

This table was set up in a great location: after the registration table and on the way to get to the snacks and drinks. Everyone must stop by the registration table, so if the PAC table is nearby, it is easier to catch the eye of people. I wore red, white, and blue star necklaces (pictured on the table in front of the chair), so when I was away from the PAC table it was clear that I was the representative that could give them more information. Setting and preparing this table took less than $10 and can be reused year after year. The brochure on the table is there to give more information to members, and it has a QR code that will take you to where you can donate to the PAC. The business cards on the table also have the website where you can donate, including the QR code to scan. On the back of the card is a brief overview of what the PAC does.

This was my first year as a PAC trustee, so I was a little nervous to approach people I didn’t know. I first focused on talking with the people I knew and was familiar with. This helped me get comfortable with what I should be saying to members. I then started to branch out and ask people that I didn’t know that well. Next year I will be more confident, and my ability to educate members about PAC will improve as I progress.

Heather Santaniello is a Medical Laboratory Scientist at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, Kansas.