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State Public Health Committee Testimony

A few weeks after meeting with Representative Robin Comey and Jason Linde from FARE, I testified before the state House's Public Health Committee.

Lisa, Maia’s mom, was monitoring the YouTube feed, to make sure that we wouldn’t miss our times. The proceedings began at 11:00. As #34 in the lineup, I would be going on around 2:15, during math class. Lisa texted me at 1:00: “They’re on #6.” In that somber moment, it became woefully clear that I wouldn’t get to miss class. In fact, at the rate that the proceedings were going, I would be speaking closer to 10:00 at night. I think the committee realized this, too, because they stopped asking people questions and at 3:50, they were at #30, partially because some endometriosis people went missing.

At 4:00, some of the people reappeared and testified. One was very unemotional as she recounted what could only be described as a fight against the medical system and a terrible disease. Another was very emotional. I learned a lot about the symptoms of endometriosis from her testimony. They did nothing to calm my nerves.

At 4:08, it was my turn. I explained to the representatives how soul-crushing it was to watch my brother live with allergies and how the situation could be remedied by simply training restaurant personnel labeling allergens on the menu. The representatives told me that my love for my brother inspired them.

Maia testified next. She was amazing and clearly laid out her amendment suggesting that restaurants should source their pre-made food more carefully.

Later in the day, Robert testified. I was pleasantly surprised when the committee members recognized his name, saying that he’s very lucky to have a sister like me who loves him very much. I, of course, make sure to remind him of this whenever I want something from him.

All in all, testifying before the Public Health Committee was an incredible experience, even if there were some parts of my speech that I would do differently. My oral testimony is on YouTube and my written testimony is in a database somewhere, waiting to be read before the bill is voted on. Even if it doesn’t get passed, the introduction of this bill into committee at all is an important first step in the fight against allergies.

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