Kaye Beach

Posts Tagged ‘lobby’

OK-SAFE Training Sessions – OKC and Tulsa

In activism on January 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm

OK-SAFE Training Sessions – OKC and Tulsa

The Oklahoma Legislative Session begins on Monday, February 7, 2011,  runs for 16 weeks, and ends on May 27, 2011.

Building on last year’s citizen training, OK-SAFE will be conducting 2 training sessions entitled Citizen Involvement in the Legislative Process.
These meetings are subject-specific, and graduated by level of ability and interest.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own computers, note-taking material, and refreshments as these are working meetings.
  • Date: Saturday, January 15, 2011
  • Time: 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
  • Location: The Village Library, 10307 N. Penn Ave., The Village, OK (North Oklahoma City).
  • Date: Saturday, January 22, 2011
  • Time: 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
  • Location: The HQ Building, 1008-B N. Hickory Ave., Broken Arrow, OK.

Preliminary Agenda is detailed below.

1st Hour –

  • Introductory – The Basics. 1) Overview of the OK Legislative Process; 2) Identifying your legislator; 3) Contact information and lists; 4) Writing emails; 5) Making the OK Legislature and OSCN websites your home pages.

2nd Hour –

  • Intermediate -Building on Hour 1. 1) The legislative process, including interim studies, bills introduced, bill committee assignments; 2) The committee process; when to advocate for a bill; 3) Creating group email lists for House and Senate; 4) Understanding the role of Speaker/ Pro-Temp, Floor Leader, and Whips.

3rd Hour –

  • Advanced – Taking off the Rose-Colored Glasses. 1) Understanding political doublespeak, i.e, smaller, smarter government, small business, advanced, quality job, knowledge-based economy; 2) How to read a bill with understanding; which OK titles of law to examine; 3) The Quality Jobs Program Act; PrimeWIN; OSU-UML, the ‘contract verifier’ for OK; 4) Tax incentives; who is benefiting from the passage of legislation.

These meetings are free and open to the public; we are suggesting, however, a small donation to cover cost of printed material.

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GRASSROOTS INFLUENCE

In activism on November 10, 2010 at 7:03 am

What is a Grassroots Advocacy (Lobbying)?

Grassroots Lobbing is simply the application of pressure on lawmakers or those holding public office that have the power to deliver what it is you want.  The corporate or paid lobbyists are definitely the pros.  Fortunately we have a few bargaining chips that they don’t have.

GRASSROOTS INFLUENCE

There are five main reasons that your elected representative cares about your priorities: voting, contributing, volunteering, visibility, and communication.

Voting Let your legislator know if a particular piece of legislation is a priority to you! If you are a constituent your priority is their priority. Nothing trumps the power you have as a voter to when it comes to establishing legislative priorities for your district.

Contributing Money-They have to have it. Even small donations are noticed and they raise the possibility of future support

Volunteering A third way to get the ear of a current or potential legislator is to volunteer for a candidate’s campaign. Volunteers are seldom forgotten.

Visibility People who are highly visible may represent and can influence a legislator’s constituency and contributors by virtue of being opinion leaders in their communities.

Communication. If you are a voter, a campaign contributor, a volunteer, or a community leader, then your elected officials want to make you happy, but they cannot read your mind. They depend on you to communicate your issues. Providing substantive information about specific legislation is a very valuable and influential way that constituents can interact with their legislators.

We sometimes assume that legislators simply count letters or phone calls related to an issue and don’t really care to about our individual experiences or arguments. Elected officials need and usually appreciate anecdotal, local stories to make the numbers related to a particular initiative come alive.

*Adapted from The One Hour Activist by Christopher Kush

How to be an Advocate

1.     Pick your issue

2.     Identify legislation

3.     Support or oppose it actively

What do Grassroots Advocates do?

•          Take action on alerts

•          Make calls

•          Visit with lawmakers

•          Provide testimony

•          Attend events

•          Recruit friends

•          Be a media liaison

Policy is changed one vote — one politician — at a time

Things You Can Do Right Now!

In Take Action on November 23, 2009 at 11:57 am

First,  Find your Federal and State Legislators if you don’t know who they are

Oklahoma House members

Oklahoma Senate Members PDF Senate directory

State House Representative and State Senator’s phone number in your directory and note their email address.  It is also a good idea to add the switchboard number as well, that way you can be connected to any legislator should you need to contact them.

See the Legislative FAQ for frequently asked questions.

How to Guide

Meet with elected officials face-to-face

When conducting a face-to-face lobbying meeting with a legislator, it is important to be well prepared. Before you make any connection, plan what you are going to say. Keep your message simple and to-the-point. Know your request (for example, vote for a specific bill) in as few words as possible. If a group of people is making a constituent visit, it is often helpful to assign different roles and practice the visit in advance.

  • Make introductions and be clear who is a constituent in a meeting. Legislators are most responsive to the people who can keep them in office – their constituents – so always attempt to have some constituent representation in any meeting.
  • Provide brief, clear statements about the problem and your solution. Think about your key points in advance and have the whole group making the visit agreed to communicating them.
  • Personal stories are important because they make the issues real and demonstrate the human impact of policy decisions. Use stories to illustrate the problem and the need.
  • It is also important to personalize your comments and provide local context. Make a strong connection between the issue and the local community that the legislator represents. Use local examples that illustrate why your issue is important and why your position is a strong one.
  • Support your case with facts. Don’t overwhelm with numbers, charts and data, but do use them judiciously to make your point and legitimize your argument.
  • Listen carefully to your legislator’s responses. What is the person saying about the issue? What is his or her position? What questions or concerns do they have that might be answered? Pay attention to the direct and indirect statements of support or opposition.
  • Ask for their support. If you don’t directly ask your legislator if they support your position, you may never actually find out what they think and what they intend to do. THE ASK MUST BE CLEAR. For example, “Can we count on you to support Resolution 186 when it comes to a vote in committee next week?” After you ask, pause. Let them answer and clarify if their response is not yet clear. Once you get an answer, you will know if the legislator supports you, opposes you, or is undecided.

If they support you:

  • Thank them, and thank them again.
  • Be a resource to them. If they need additional information or help in any way, offer to make that available to them.
  • Try to move them from being a supporter to a champion of your cause. Ask them if they will carry the bill to their colleagues, speak at a public event, write a commentary for the newspaper, to any other action which will move the legislation forward.

If they oppose you:

  • Thank them for their time and don’t waste yours. If they really don’t support you, move on to those who will.
  • Stay cordial and friendly. Even thought you disagree on this issue, you may be in agreement on another issue. Keep the door open to working together in the future.

If they remain undecided:

  • Try to understand their reservations and continue to communicate with them.
  • If they need additional information, be sure you get it to them in a timely manner.
  • Think about whose voice is important to them and try to mobilize it on your behalf.

Finally, remember never to whine, threaten, misrepresent facts, malign the opponent, personalize a difference of opinion, or burn bridges.