LiveWell Colorado got a blast of recognition when we all – staff and communities –converged on the Capitol in Denver last Thursday. Our goal was to discuss healthy eating and active living with our local legislators in order to keep this a priority in the upcoming legislative session. We also discussed the importance of school wellness and the role Farm to School initiatives can play in bringing healthy food to schools.
This was LiveWell Alamosa’s third year at this prestigious event. The first year we went with conviction and terror only to realize that contrary to the intimidating figures portrayed in the media, our Colorado legislators are quite human. The building itself is quite formidable with security at either end. This rural cowgirl had her Buck knife confiscated at the door in year one. By year three, myself and Megan (my local coalition nutrition activist) breezed up the ornate stairs – right to the House Chambers to be greeted by our old friend Ed from House District 62.
Instructed to call him Representative Vigil, we were eager to share our collective hopes for a healthier and slimmer Colorado and give him the cherry red apple provided by LWC for all legislators. Megan and I were seated on the floor sidelines in the spot reserved for us by our conscientious political servant. The session began with a mighty bang from Speaker Frank McNulty as to my delight, Representative Vigil hungrily munched on his Red Delicious. Others popped their patented LiveWell Colorado water bottles meant to encourage worksite wellness at the Capitol.
Representative Sue Schafer from House District 24, an active leader in LiveWell Wheat Ridge obesity prevention initiatives, was chosen to read a LiveWell Colorado Tribute to the House. I felt like blowing a whistle… people were so noisy… it was like an unruly third grade classroom. Then after a hasty consultation – Democrat Schafer was fined $2 for reading her tribute without permission from the Republican Speaker. “We have to have a little fun,” she shared with me after with a chuckle.
A highlight of the day was our LiveWell Colorado luncheon, which could be considered a big worksite wellness kickoff for the Capitol and its employees. Even though we were competing with the Ski and Snowboard Extravaganza luncheon which was also free to legislators, several legislators showed up to get their healthy lunch and learn a few easy exercises from the tall and handsome Aussie Prez of Bonzo Bodies, Jamie Atlas.
My State Senator Gail Schwartz squeezed this luncheon into her extremely busy day and then we had a walking meeting to her next gig at the Senate Ag Committee. LiveWell Colorado signs – sprinkled throughout the Capitol that day – touted wellness messages like the following: Make Your Meeting Move – You can burn about 75 calories in a 30-minute walking meeting.
All in all a great and productive day was had by all – and don’t be surprised if you see a few red apple munchers walking and talking at the Capitol!
(Liza Marron, pictured far left, with fellow LiveWell Colorado Community Coordinators and Senator Gail Schwartz)