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Lately, I find myself awaiting any opportunity that I can command the attention of a legislator or a politician. Part of advocacy is getting important messages of concern into the ears of the people who have the ability of championing the cause and changing the laws and policies to improve the lives of citizens.
So, Imagine my great fortune and surprise, when I discovered a phone message from Rep. Brian Sims of Pennsylvania. I first became familiar with Brian Sims, quite randomly, from a Youtube documentary series called “I’m from Driftwood”. In his segment, this young handsome man tells a poignant and heart-warming ‘coming of age’ to a compelling effect. It tells the story of how a group of college football players stand up for their teammate against their own coach when the coach makes an insensitive and homophobic remark. This occurred in a time where people were accustomed to hide their differences, and be shunned, not supported, by the others around them.
Fast forward a few years, and I was listening to the radio broadcast of “Hardball with Chis Matthews” a political commentary show on MSNBC, where I was captivated by the show’s guest, a State representative from the Center City district in Philadelphia. When I got home and watched the cable re-broadcast of the same “Hardball”, I thought there was something familiar about that guest, Brian Sims. After thinking about it, I realized that that was the ‘guy’, now a mature man, from the “I’m from Driftwood” documentary. He was all grown up. In that time, he had become a civil-rights attorney, a disability attorney, and now a legislator in the State of Pennsylvania.
I followed his career from that point on via Social Media and through news accounts, and saw that he was earnestly trying to make a change in his state to champion the rights of the disenfranchised and improve the lives of all citizens.
I made a donation to a political re-election campaign online a few years ago, feeling good about supporting a person like him, who had a genuine drive and purpose to improve the human condition in America. A few days ago, he called me.
Since the time I first been aware of Brian Sims, he has accomplished a lot of things and with his All-American good looks and charismatic presence has graced the cover of a few national magazines. So, I was shocked that he would call me…. out of the blue. Surely, he could have had one of his staff members make such calls. He indicated in the voicemail that he was intending a run for Congress, and appreciated my previous contribution and wanted to tell me why he was running for Congress now and to see if I could support him. I have made donations to many campaigns and causes. This was only the second time someone called me personally to “thank me” and “ask for my help again. The other time this was happened was with Gubernatorial Candidate JOe Dorman, who still calls me to see how I am doing it.
The call took about 20 minutes, maybe longer. We discussed his continued interest in making sure that LGBTQ citizens have protections under the law, and his interest in protect poor people, and women’s access to healthcare, which lately has become under siege in the political football that “Planned Parenthood” has become.
I indulged, like I would always do, anytime I have a conversation with a legislator about “Drug Policy” in America, and how access to Pain Management by legitimate people with chronic pain, severe pain and debilitating pain is being threatened by policies that are misguided, overzealous and not taking in the full picture of the reality of pain. He not only was open to the possibility of having this conversation, he added to it. He recalled an aunt of his with a rheumatological condition who was finding it increasing difficult to get management for her pain. He understood that the climate these days makes prescribing the appropriate medicine for people that need it is becoming increasingly progression. I also explained that as a former pain management provider, it is clear the process of pain management is being criminalized. Patients are being treated like they are “drug addicts” , rather than people suffering with pain, and doctors are being treated like “drug dealers” rather than providers of medical treatment to people with pain.
Brian Sims gets it. He cares about the Access to Care for People with Care. For that reason, and for what it’s worth, I support Brian Sims for Congress. You should to.
Click here to let Brian know we stand with him and Donate what you can. Change is only possible when people act.
“i haven’t walked in everyone’s shoes, but I have logged enough miles in my own to know I will never back down” — Brian Sims