As communication sciences and disorders health professionals, we work to improve communication abilities for our patients and their families. And, as an audiologist, I constantly experienced conversations in which people with hearing loss would either withdraw from situations due to a lack of confidence or would dominate verbally so they could drive the conversation. I began to see a similar pattern in politics—and how it led to a disconnect between constituents and their elected officials.
I ran for political office (and won—I was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives last November) because I recognized an opportunity for improved leadership and better communication. I used my listening skills as I knocked on door after door during the campaign. In many instances, my patients also became my campaign advocates for how well I listen and interact with people. Campaigning showed me that no matter what job we do, we’re all really in the relationship business.
My community recognized I was a good listener, a fiscally responsible business owner, a wife, a mother, and someone who wanted to help people after 23 years working with patients in my private practice. Now in office, I still use the same skills as I work to give people their ultimate voice in our state government.
My skills accrued as an audiologist and a business owner are invaluable to me as I listen to the concerns of others. Several of my other skills translate into helping me become a good representative. For example, I do my best to find common ground among constituents and/or colleagues then work to effect change.
As a business owner, I’m always of the mindset that a penny saved is a penny earned. Also, as a health care professional, my experience with medical insurance filing, billing, and collecting is useful as I work with my colleagues to increase access to health care, as well as identify more efficient process and procedures.
When I look back across my 27-year career, I see how it prepared me for this role to serve others. After all, I think the underlying reason that calls us all to the professions is helping people communicate.
Deanna Frazier, AuD, CCC-A, is a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, representing District 81. Deanna.firstname.lastname@example.org