MD Antibiotics Lobby Day – A Huge Success!

Thanks to Sierra Club’s Maggie Davenport for this write-up of our Antibiotics Lobbying Day on January 20.

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Lobby Day Lunch pic

A bevy of activity – likely hastened by one of our more brisk days of the season — revealed a room full of Marylanders – each with their coalition buttons, gathered at their tables in the public lounge – busily strategizing and fine-tuning last minute details for the day’s meetings.  It was great walking through the hallways where our elected officials meet to make our laws.  What was even more wonderful was that on Antibiotics Lobby Day – January 20th – a gaggle of ordinary Marylanders made their way to these lawmakers to share issues and concerns about why taking action to keep antibiotics working was important to them.  The reception from the Delegates, Senators, and their staffers felt genuine and welcoming: They asked pointed questions about how over-use of antibiotics in farm animals affects population health and listened as each of us gave our own personal reasons for being there – at our meeting with Delegate Clarence Lam there was at least eight (8) of us! Some gave a definite ‘Yes’ to co-sponsoring the bill; those who were a bit more cautious and reluctant to commit on the spot remained engaged and quite diplomatically (I must say!) shared their concerns.  Our team leaders provided detailed, on-the-spot responses as pens floated across yellow pads.  Presenting our ‘Thank You!’ plaque to Senator Joan Carter-Conway, Chair of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, was like walking into the living room of an old friend.

Everyone was invited to an ‘antibiotics-free lunch’ (courtesy of Panera Bread) as one of our champions, Delegate Kumar Barve, Chair of the House Environment and Transportation Committee, presented solid rationale for how and why ‘little’ Maryland can be the next big leader in addressing this critical public health issue.  The consensus was that our first lobby day signaled the start of a progression of citizens who are impassioned about this issue:  Help us keep the momentum going! If you missed the activity on the 20th, be sure to check out the Maryland Campaign to Keep Antibiotics Working website for upcoming events, tell your legislators to vote in favor of the antibiotics bill, and contact us if you’d like to learn more!

Maggie Davenport
Maryland Sierra Club
Antibiotics Issue Lead
Maggie.Davenport@mdsierra.org
Lobby Day pic with Sen. Carter Conway 2
Thanking Sen. Joan Carter Conway for fighting for antibiotic legislation! From L-R: Mae Wu (NRDC), Maggie Davenport (Sierra Club), Senator Joan Carter Conway, Tom Hucker, Michael Berger (Elevation Burger), and Rebecca Rehr (Maryland Environmental Health Network)

Adding more photos!

Fraser Hidalgo Lobby Day
Great visit with Delegate Fraser-Hidalgo. From L-R: Shari Solomon (CleanHealth Environmental), Maggie Davenport (Sierra Club), Margaret Hadley (Woman’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County), Shamar Rundhawa (Maryland PIRG), Del. Fraser-Hidalgo, Emily Scarr (Maryland PIRG)
Del. Carr Lobby Day
Another great visit. From L-R: Mae Wu (NRDC), Del. Carr, Emily Scarr (Maryland PIRG), Russ Kremer (farmer, Heritage Foods)
Barve Lobby Day 2
Chairman Kumar Barve
Pinsky Lobby Day 2.jpg
Senator Paul Pinsky
Shane Robinson Lobby Day.jpg
Delegate Shane Robinson with Emily Scarr (Maryland PIRG)
Justin Graves Lobby Day
Justin Graves, RN, Sustainability Manager, University of Maryland Medical Center
Michael Berger Lobby Day
Michael Berger, Founding Member and VP Supply Chain, Elevation Burger
Lobby Day Prep
Getting ready for a big day! Justin Graves (UMMC), Maggie Davenport (Sierra Club), Shari Solomon (CleanHealth Environmental), Dan Furmansky (Fair Farms Maryland), Kim Wagner (farmer, Black Bottom Farms)
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Scary New Superbug in 19 countries

This is scary news. We might actually be in the post-antibiotic era that we’ve been trying to avoid.

Bloomberg reports:

Just two months ago, researchers in China identified a gene that can make bacteria resistant to a last-resort antibiotic called colistin. It was a bombshell discovery for people who follow superbugs. Now that gene has been detected in at least 19 countries, and scientists are alarmed.

Colistin is what doctors give you in the U.S. when nothing else works. Because it’s toxic, it can have some harmful side effects, but colistin can help defeat infections that shrug off every other antibiotic in their arsenal. If bacteria resist everything, including colistin, you’re out of luck.

Check out this map.

colistin map

And read the whole article here.