Myra Rosenbloom was a seventy-three-year-old woman from Bloomington, Indiana, whose husband died in a hospital that, to her surprise, had no physician on duty. 1 Spending six days and nights on a bench inside the Indiana state capitol, Mrs. Rosenbloom overcame objections from doctors and hospitals and convinced the state legislature to require hospitals to have a doctor on duty at all times.
Bill Gradison is a former member of Congress. He left Congress to become a highly paid lobbyist for the Health Insurance Association of America, and with the help of two television commercial "stars" -- Harry and Louise -- led a successful lobbying campaign to derail President Clinton's health-care-reform efforts in 1994.
Mrs. Rosenbloom and Mr. Gradison appear to have little in common. Mrs. Rosenbloom was an "ordinary citizen" who set out to right a wrong. She had no previous lobbying experience and knew little about the intricate legislative process she sought to influence. Mr. Gradison, in contrast, was an experienced legislator who was hired to lobby his old friends in Congress. But instead of relying on the timehonored, behind-the-scenes lobbying tactics that once dominated issue advocacy, Bill Gradison ironically tore a page from Myra Rosenbloom's book. He focused his lobbying resources on persuading and mobilizing ordinary citizens like Myra Rosenbloom.
Whether led by the likes of Mrs. Rosenbloom or Mr. Gradison, change happens whenever a small group of committed (and sometimes