Cart 0
 

 

 


Our Story

Like all the best ideas, Little Lobbyists began as a kitchen table conversation between friends. Late one evening Elena Hung and Michelle Morrison, co-founders of Little Lobbyists, sat with a friend discussing their concerns for their community of kids with complex medical needs. The news from D.C. had everyone worried but not everyone had access to their representatives. If a legislator from far away wouldn't listen to their constituents, how could they know how important programs and protections like the ACA, Medicaid, ADA, and IDEA are for families reliant on specialized health care, accessible public spaces, and inclusive education? 

A simple plan was formed: take photos and stories of kids with complex medical needs directly to their legislators. Deliver them in person with their own kids (and their trachs, ventilators, oxygen, wheelchairs, walkers, leg braces, feeding tubes, and more...) so lawmakers could see first-hand who needs the protection of the very laws and programs under threat. 

After our first trip to Capitol Hill in June of 2017 it was clear we had so much more work to do. One trip turned into many. We’ve continued to collect stories from all over the country, visit legislators to educate them about kids with complex medical needs in their own states, and spread awareness about issues that impact our families. We’ve been joined by dozens more families in Washington D.C. who’ve made personal connections with policy makers. We’ve connected with thousands more through social media, television interviews, news articles, press conferences, and more. We’ve come a long way, learned an incredible amount, met inspiring allies, had countless conversations with adversaries, and fought some really big battles. And we're not done yet.

Our goal is for the United States to become a place where the government does not repeal, but rather advances and champions, policies and laws that protect the livelihood and future of our children. We hope one day soon all parties will come together to map a path to better health care, education, and community inclusion for every person with complex medical needs and disabilities. 

We work every day toward that goal, to help guide our country toward the healthier, happier future our children deserve.

 
 

Our Leadership

Elena_bio-768x576.jpg

Elena

Elena is Xiomara’s mom and co-founder of Little Lobbyists. She loves connecting with families with medically complex kids and believes in the power of stories to change hearts and minds.

She has been an immigration lawyer since 2006: helping families to reunite, U.S. employers to sponsor workers, and asylum seekers to flee persecution.

Elena likes tater tots, dresses with pockets, and the Hamilton soundtrack. She had lots of hobbies before becoming a mom, like painting, pottery, hoop dancing, sewing, and yoga. Now, she is usually awake at 1am connecting with other families on social media.

Elena can be reached at elena@littlelobbyists.org

Michelle_bio-768x576.jpg

Michelle

Michelle is Timmy’s mom and co-founder of Little Lobbyists. She firmly believes that if we could all learn to see other people as people, the world would be a better place.

She has a PhD in linguistics and in her day job focuses on language description and documentation. She has been volunteering as a patient and family advisor in her local hospital since 2012.

Michelle enjoys sewing and has been known to stay up until 2am working on a quilt. She also loves color-coded spreadsheets and bacon.

Michelle can be reached at michelle@littlelobbyists.org

Laura and Simon

Laura

Laura is Simon’s mom. She believes that, regardless of health or ability, all people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. She also believes that every person has gifts to share, celebrate, and use to make our world more beautiful.

Laura is a graphic designer, small business owner, and adjunct professor. She believes in the power of great design for great organizations and specializes in communication for education, health care, and the arts. She loves being in the classroom helping creative people turn their passion into their profession.

When she isn’t creating or teaching design, Laura works toward making the world a more beautiful place by volunteering on various board committees that support arts in education and the inclusion and celebration of people with disabilities. She loves being a mom to both her amazing kids, does a lot of yoga, bakes impressive cakes, and really appreciates a nice manicure.

Laura can be reached at laura@littlelobbyists.org

Stacy Staggs and her daughter Emma

Stacy

Stacy is Emma's mom. She believes in the right to accessible, quality healthcare for everyone in our country. She believes in removing barriers with the goal of truly integrating people with disabilities into everyday life and their communities.

Before she was a mom, she used to be cool. She paused her work career when her twins were born at 28 weeks to become their primary caregiver. She has served as a parent advisor at her local children's hospital since 2017 and become heavily involved in county and statewide voter registration efforts. She enjoys cooking for her family, and especially trying to recreate items from restaurants at home. She aspires to earn a green thumb with plants, but has not yet been successful.

Stacy and her husband are avid NCAA football fans who repeatedly debate the merits of the Big Ten vs. SEC conferences. She also loves taking the girls on local adventures to the grocery store, pools, parks and farms.

Stacy can be reached at stacy@littlelobbyists.org

brianprofile.jpg

Brian

Brian is Simon’s dad. He believes that we should all live our lives to serve others. By sharing our hearts and our talents with one another we can find our common humanity and make the world a better place. Advocating for kids with complex medical needs like Simon has been an important way to fulfill this purpose.

At work, Brian is a higher education marketing professional, creative director and entrepreneur. He likes to build teams that merge creativity, passion and business strategy to challenge old rules, and develop innovative ideas.

At home, Brian is a proud father of two amazing kids, Olivia and Simon, who make him laugh constantly. In his spare time, he enjoys science fiction, jazz music, building Lego sets and solving Rubic’s Cubes. He is a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan and loves spending an evening at the ball game with family and friends.

Brian can be reached at brian@littlelobbyists.org

Marta and her daughter Caroline

Marta

Marta is Caroline’s mom. She believes that every child deserves a chance at a happy and healthy life and that families need a larger voice in the public policy debates that affect them.

Marta has worked in philanthropy since 2002. When Marta is not working, she is usually snuggling with her daughter Caroline or managing her complex medical care alongside her husband Mike.

Marta enjoys eating Nutella with potato chips, listening to audiobook thrillers, and finding humor in everyday life. Born in Ecuador, she also lived in Korea before moving to the United States as a teenager in 1991.

Jamie and her daughter Claire

Jamie

Jamie is Claire’s Mom.

Jamie believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege and that everyone deserves the opportunity to not just survive, but thrive. She believes that a society where everyone is included is possible.

Jamie is a civil rights attorney, adjunct professor, and writer.

She is an avid photographer, loves to explore, and takes pride in watching all four of her kids become outspoken advocates for what matters to them. She loves chocolate, movies, and the rare moments her house is quiet.

Jamie can be reached at jamie@littlelobbysist.org.

Mark and Timmy

Mark

Mark is Timmy’s dad. Mark is dedicated to helping other families tell their stories and advocating for children with complex medical needs.

When he’s not giving breathing treatments or making tube-feeds, he’s working on connecting with other parents of medically complex children and encouraging them to share their stories to their Members of Congress.

Mark enjoys listening to movie soundtracks, reading Harry Potter, and learning American Sign Language.

Mark can be reached at mark@littlelobbyists.org

 
 

Frequently asked questions:

Q. What does medically complex mean?

A. A child with complex medical needs has multiple medical issues. They require specialized medical care, and often require medications, equipment, and/or therapies. Having a child with complex medical needs can mean multiple hospitalizations, surgeries, and emergency room visits. It also means a strict coordination and continuity of care, because of the involvement of so many services. Kids with complex medical needs often have disabilities, cognitive and/or physical. We do not specifically define a set of symptoms because are many syndromes, disorders, and conditions that cause medical complexity.
 

Q. Are you a partisan group?

A. Little Lobbyists is a non-partisan group. We focus on the issues that impact our children and we advocate for their right to access the health care, education, and community inclusion they need to survive and thrive. We appreciate the support of any legislator from any party who supports our children. We will hold accountable any legislator from any party who votes against what our children need. However, we also firmly believe in the importance of having conversations to find shared values with those who do not yet support our families. Our vision is for the civil rights of people with complex medical needs and disabilities to have universal support.  

 

Q. There are so many acronyms! Can you define some of the most important?

A. Here you go!

ACA: Affordable Care Act (sometimes referred to as "Obamacare"). The ACA is important because it provides protection for people with pre-existing conditions, bans lifetime caps on care, expanded Medicaid in many states, and took significant steps to making sure more Americans have access to affordable health care. Learn more here.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act "The ADA is one of America's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life -- to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 -- the ADA is an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities." Learn more at www.ada.gov

Medicaid and CHIP: Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) "provide free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities." Learn more here.  

IDEA: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law that supports special education and related service programming for children and youth with disabilities. Learn more here.

 

Q. I still care for my child with complex medical needs, but h/she is no longer a minor. do you represent my family too?

A. Yes. We're called "Little" but the issues we advocate for are BIG. We know our children will grow up, and we welcome families caring for adult children with complex medical needs. Please share your experience advocating for your child with us, we know there is so much we can learn from each other's journeys.

 

Q. How can my child and I become little lobbyists?

A.  Three easy steps!  1. Share the story of your child with complex medical needs with us through our story collection form.  2. Connect with us online through our community Facebook group to stay up to date on our activities, calls to action, and more.  3. Follow the Little Lobbyist's guidelines whenever you identify yourself as a member of our group. Because we encourage active participation from our children we work to maintain a family-friendly tone in all our interactions, language, and behavior. When encountering differences of opinion try to seek common ground and remember our goal is always to educate and tell our children's stories.  

 

Q. Do I need to come to Washington D.C. to participate in little lobbyists?

A. No! Kids with complex medical needs need advocates in EVERY state! We often connect families to advocacy opportunities within their home state and our long-term goal is to have Little Lobbyists chapters in every state. Contact us if you are interested in learning more!

 

Q. I'm going on a hill visit for the first time! What should i know?

A. For tips on talking to legislators, what to wear, transportation, security, health suites, even where to find snacks, please see our Hill Visit FAQs.

 

Q. I don't have a child with complex medical needs, but I would still like to support little lobbyists. what is the  best way to be involved? 

A. There are lots of ways you can support Little Lobbyists. Follow us on FacebookTwitter , and Instagram to share, like and retweet our messages. Participate in our calls to action on the issues that impact our community. Spread the word about our organization, especially to anyone you know who has a child with complex medical needs. And, if you can, donate to help us grow our mission to advocate for more families. Thank you!