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National MS Society 2016 Public Policy Conference

25 years of impact!

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Welcome to the 2016 Public Policy Conference!

This page will provide MS activists with everything you need to prepare for the National MS Society’s 2016 Public Policy Conference (PPC) and visits to Capitol Hill. The conference will take place from March 14-16, 2016. This year, we will recognize 25 years of MS activists’ collective impact, and together, we will drive more change. Please check back often, as items will be added as the PPC approaches. 

Register for the conference

Each attendee must register by February 19. There are no registration fees; If you run into complications registering, see these instructions and FAQ

Reserve a Hotel Room(s)

If you need a hotel room, make your reservations at the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C. (901 Massaschuetts Ave. NW) by February 19 online or call 855-821-4281. The conference room rate is $299/night. For all accessible hotel room needs, please contact Doris Lill at doris.lill@nmss.org or 303-698-6167 as explained in the “Accessibility Needs” section below.

Travel arrangements

Arrival and Departure Times
  • Arrive at the hotel by 2 p.m. on Monday, March 14 (District Activist Leaders participating in pre-conference meetings should arrive on Sunday). 
  • Your departure time on Wednesday, March 16, will depend on when your state delegation completes its visits on Capitol Hill. From the time your last visit is done, we recommend 2.5-3 hours to return to the hotel for luggage and travel to Reagan National Airport for your flight.
  • The hotel does not operate an airport shuttle, so please consult this Transportation Guide for taxi and public transportation options.

Airports and Train Stations
  • It is most convenient to fly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)—as it’s the closest airport to the hotel and Capitol Hill.
  • At least an hour of additional travel time is necessary if flying into Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) or Dulles International Airport (IAD). 
  • If traveling by train, taxis from Union Station to the hotel are estimated at $15/way.

Accessibility needs

  • Hotel Rooms: If you or a loved one requires an accessible hotel room, please email Doris Lill or call 303-698-6167 as soon as possible so that we can actively ensure that all attendee needs are met. Accessible hotel rooms will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Transportation to/from Capitol Hill: Will be provided. Your or a loved one's need for accessible transportation to/from Capitol Hill on Wednesday should be indicated in conference registration. Once your state’s Hill visits are scheduled, Society staff will coordinate departure and return times. 
  • Mobility, PCAs and Medical Equipment: If you or a loved one requires a wheelchair or scooter, a personal care attendant and/or medical equipment while at the conference, please make arrangements in advance by contacting one of these local providers

Conference agenda

The conference agenda will be posted shortly.

Conference trainings

  • For those unable to make the scheduled trainings, both will be recorded and posted.
  • Conference & Capitol Hill 101 Training: If you have never attended the Public Policy Conference or visited Capitol Hill, we urge you to register for this webinar training on Tuesday, February 23 at 3 p.m. ET (2-3 p.m. CT, 1-2 p.m. MT, 12 – 1 p.m. PT, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Alaska, 10-11 a.m. Hawaii).
  • PPC Prep Training: We urge all PPC attendees to register for this webinar training on Tuesday March 1, 3-4 p.m. ET (2-3 p.m. CT, 1-2 p.m. MT, 12 – 1 p.m. PT, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Alaska, 10-11 a.m. Hawaii).

Capitol Hill visits and issue priorities

Scheduling Capitol Hill Visits:
  • Visit Coordinators: Each state has a designated Visit Coordinator who is responsible for scheduling that state’s Capitol Hill visits. Visit Coordinators are to enter all scheduled Capitol Hill visits into this online system.
  • Sample Hill Visit Request: Some congressional offices require a formal visit request. Here is a sample visit request.
During Capitol Hill visits, MS activists will urge Congress to support:
  • The Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act
  • Funding for MS Research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Affordable access to MS medications
Issue briefs and talking points will posted soon!

Washington, D.C. local information

  • Washington, D.C. Area Transportation Guide: Airport shuttles are not provided this year, so we urge you to consult this guide to navigate taxi (including accessible taxis)and public transportation options.
  • Capitol Hill grounds map including accessible entrances
  • Area Restaurants: A list of accessible restaurants within close distance of the hotel will be posted soon.

Craft your story

Your story is a unique and powerful advocacy tool – perhaps the most powerful tool you possess. Please watch this short video by Brad Fitch of the Congressional Management Foundation and begin your journey through the seven elements of storytelling:

1.       “The Want” – Beginning with the end in mind

2.       “The Opening” – Set the state and establish the stakes

3.       “Paint the Picture” – Details and the senses

4.       “The Struggle” – Describe the challenge(s)

5.       “Discovery” – Provide interesting and impactful facts

6.       “We Can Win!” – Introduce the potential of success and joy

7.       “The Button” – Finish with the request

The following worksheet will also guide you through the storytelling process. Storytelling is a life-long advocacy tool that you can use for in-district visits, in your statehouses, in letter-writing campaigns, and so much more!

Click here to read MS Activist Robert Taylor’s story as an example.

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