I was excited to gather a team of ONE volunteers that I first met earlier this week at a ONE workshop to visit with the Philadelphia office of Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA). We were received warmly by the senator’s regional manager, James Fitzpatrick. I was also pleased to see that a picture of Senator Toomey with PA ONE members that I delivered was still on display in the office!
Our conversation began with recognition that local volunteers signed up 2,851 new ONE members at the Philadelphia U2 concerton July 14 along with celebration of Bono’s announcement that there are now 5 million people receiving life-saving treatment for HIV/AIDS.
During the meeting we talked about ONE’s priorities for the upcoming budget year: childhood vaccinations, ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and effective investments in agriculture. We discussed the amazing stories that are now being shared with the world through Living Proof (a partnership between ONE and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). We recognized that Senator Toomey entered the Senate at a very exciting time in the world with regard to the effort to end extreme poverty and preventable disease. Our discussion centered around the less-than-one percent of the U.S. Budget that is saving millions of lives, helping people earn their way out of poverty, and providing important support to America’s national security through investment in development.
As Senator Toomey continues to take a leadership role in America’s need to pass a budget that is shaped by responsible choices during a time of economic challenges, we were encouraged to hear that programs including PEPFAR (the Presidents Emergency Program for AIDS Relief), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunizations), and investments in agriculture were viewed by the senator as both needed efforts and effective investments in the future that deserve to be funded according to the commitments that have already been promised.
Thank you very much to Senator Toomey and his staff for taking time to continue America’s effective and compassionate work to help the world’s poorest people.