Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sheila Goes to Washington, recap

Sheila Mossberg, CEO and founder of NONTOXIQUE went to DC to testify before Congress earlier this week.
The following information is from two emails I received from her this morning. They have been reprinted with her permission (thanks Sheila).

Yesterday started with breakfast at the Fairfax on Embassy row (cha-ching) and we listened to Charlie Cook, the Publisher of the Cook Political Report. He is a political analyst for NBC News and is the guy on the Hill when it comes to elections and political trends.

He was very interesting to listen to and get to do Q & A with after. A really funny guy and right to the point which I like. He talked about the current state of politics re the democratic party and the republican party and recapped some major events for both sides that has really positioned them as the not so favorable party for the time etc.

He talked about the new health care bill that was signed Tuesday and is still going through reconciliation and so on. He talked about how things work on the Hill so it was great for me being new to the political game.

Afterwords, the President of the Natural Products Association along with a panel of board-members / scientist spoke about some of the current legislation that we were there to meet about, share our concerns and for me, tell them why some of them mattered to me.

The biggest one, although McCain withdrew support from, was the S. 3002. What people don't realize is even though McCain withdrew, this will make its way around again and may even be snuck into other active legislation. The problem with trying to make all suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and anyone else involved in natural supplements is that it's actually an attempt to start controlling our choice for health care. Interesting timing with the new healthcare bill.

This is a problem for the thousands ( StormSister says, "please let it not be 'thousands' but MILLIONS") of Americans who choose natural health and are not a burden to the system. It is a problem for our industry as we see health care integrating into spas in the form of wellness promoting treatments, especially those who actually have licensed nutritionist or chiropractors who they work with to create healthy living plans and services for clients.

It's a problem because there are lots of us in this business who are like me, they try to live as organic a life as they can and when the poisons of the industry catch up with us, like in my case, I chose natural health which meant lots of supplements known and proven to be effective in treating what was wrong. I wasn't a burden on the system. I happily paid for my sessions and supplements just thankful I had that choice.

It was interesting to speak with our leaders and legislative assistants and hear that many of them are in support of protecting our freedom of choice in this area. McCain was an idiot for what he did and according to Cook, he didn't even understand his own bill!

I was able to talk with the President of the Natural Products Association over lunch along with a few others and we talked about consumer trust when it comes to what they're buying and how they look at products seals that in my opinion just add to the confusion. I was asked because of what happened to me and how clean a product has to be for me to even consider it, what my thoughts on the seal for natural products are.

I had to tell them I believe they are not hitting the mark yet. We talked about why that is and how to go forward to make it 100%. I told them that if I can do it, and others making skin care and hair care can do it, then they have to be solid so their seal means something to everyone. We are all going to talk about this in the coming weeks and months and most likely tie it to what I am putting together here with others trying to get some standards set that consumers and industry workers can trust.

Interestingly, some of those I spoke with in DC were interested in this group I'm forming and thought it might be the first real step in making local changes that could lead to greater and widely accepted change in our industry! I could have cried when I left these meetings yesterday finally realizing that when I feel like I don't have a voice in the things that matter to me or others around me, it's because I've never really exercised it. If we care about something enough, you make your self heard. You go right to the people who need to know your story and why it matters.

I am optimistic as to where this group will go and what we could accomplish, especially with some of our lawmakers taking an interest.

I feel like I made some great contacts to help in moving our industry as best I can to a healthier place.

I asked Sheila to please clarify this sentence as I find it an interesting observation - "current state of politics re: the democratic party and the republican party and recapped some major events for both sides that has really positioned them as the not so favorable party for the time etc. "
Here answer is as follows:

He (Charlie Cook) talked about when the Republicans were in control and how it took them 8 years, literally 2 terms of Bush running things to have destroyed the republican brand and make everyone mistrust him and the republicans. By time his term was up, there was nothing any republican candidate could have done to re-gain the American trust so many Republicans chose to vote Democrat, Hence electing Obama into office.

Now, he says that with since Obama has been in office it has taken little over a year to ruin the Democratic brand and lose American trust. His approval is as bad as Bush's was but only after years. He talked about how Obama lacks experience in what he's doing and his decisions are reflecting that and most likely the Democrats will not win the next election because of how messy things have become at Obama's hand.

He went on and on and explained many topics throughout both administrations and the problems along with historical polling data. It was pretty interesting to hear right from the expert what's happened and how Americans view the administration and what things scare us as a whole and turn us away.

This Health care bill is a huge mistake and more Americans are not in support of it than those who are. The ones who are don't understand the bill. Obama should be focused on jobs and economy but has become too wrapped up in getting this reform passed while he's in office and it has some asking why?

Readers of this blog. Please, do your research.
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