The legislative staff. Often when thinking about advocacy and advocating for your town, small business or organization, the person(s) that comes to mind is the legislator. Obviously they are quite important, and the ultimate decision makers when voting on issues affecting your communities or ability to serve your customers or clients. However, there is another very important group of people that deserve as much of your time and attention as the lawmaker themselves. And that is their staff!
These individuals are much more than just an employee. They are often a confidant, advisor and influencer when it comes time for legislators to:
1. Decide what bills to file.
2. Decide to request appropriations.
3. Fully understand the impact of legislation (develop talking points).
4. Draft bill language, and;
5. Debate bills in committee.
So how can you include them in your advocacy plan? Here’s a fantastic, proven strategy!
Initiate a quarterly meeting with your senior staff and the lawmakers’ legislative aides for the purpose of keeping them up-to-date on activities within your industry, organization, town or business. And if you have a store front or corporate offices, this is also the perfect time for a quick tour! This strategy keeps participants (especially the aide) advised of what is happening and a chance to talk about your greatest challenges or opportunities to work together.
Lastly…THIS is how good legislation becomes a reality and how pre-emptions or unfunded mandates are prevented. And take it from someone who’s been involved in advocacy for over 15 years…it’s much more fun to focus on being a pro-active advocate vs. only reacting to the bad!
Your Partner in Advocacy…Kathy