Thursday, February 09, 2017

I Am Not A Fan Of Barney Frank* But…

He makes some good points about effective lobbying.
Barney Frank: Here's how to not waste your time pressuring lawmakers
Policy Mic
By Barney Frank
February 07, 2017

After 32 years in the House of Representatives, here is my advice on how people opposed to President Donald Trump’s assault on our basic values — a majority of those who voted last November — can best influence members of Congress. Done the right way, communications from citizens can have a significant impact on legislators, even when they claim to be immune to “pressure.” (“Pressure,” in legislative jargon, is the expression of views with which legislators disagree, as opposed to “public opinion” — the term used for sentiments that reinforce their own.)

The key to doing it right is being clear about the goal, which is to persuade the Senator or Representative receiving the communication that how he or she votes on the issue in question will affect how the sender will vote the next time the legislator is on the ballot.
So what does he say?

  • Make sure you’re registered to vote — lawmakers check.
  • Lawmakers don’t care about people outside of their district.
  • Your signature — physical or electronic — on a mass petition will mean little.
  • Know where your representative stands.
  • Communicate — even if you and your representative disagree.
  • Say “thank you.”
  • Enlist the help of friends in other districts.
  • Every point he made is valid.

I have spent many hours in lobbying training. In one workshop one of our state legislators said that she has her aids sort her email each morning by title lumping all the canned emails  and files them in a well-known circular file. They then look at the other emails that were personally written.

She said that the order of importance is…
An in person visit
A handwritten letter
A phone call
A personal email
A petition
And last is a canned email that you just click on.
Another important thing is what Mr.Frank said “Know where your representative stands” you don’t want to get into a long winded speech about why he should support the bill if he already supports the bill, but instead a “Thank You for your support “ works wonders, it lets them know that you support them.

You can read my tips on lobbying and how to write you testimony here.

So how do I know so much about lobbying?

Well for one thing I have been doing it since 2007 and for another I had this training.

  • 2011 – Campaign School, Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work, University of Connecticut, School of Social Work, West Hartford, CT, – 2 days
  • 2008 – Lobbying Training – Connecticut Lobbying Conference, Betty Gallo & Company, Hartford CT – 8hr.
  • 2007 – Grassroots Organizing, New York Power Summit, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury NY – How to organizing house parties, phone banks and door – to – door canvassing, – 2 ½ days
  • 2006 – Albany Trans Rights Conference – National Center for Transgender Equality and by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Grassroots Organizing, Albany New York, – 1 ½ da

I am not an expert, but I do know my way around the LOB and the capitol.

*A couple of times I lobbied in Washington DC for ENDA and in 2007 he introduced a gender identity ENDA and he said that he was behind the bill 100% but he then pulled the bill and replaced it with a non-gender identity ENDA. He said that he did it because we (the trans community) haven’t paid our dues and that the Gays and lesbians have been lobbying since the seventies, he totally ignored the lobbying that members of the trans community have also been doing since the seventies.

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