Deep Dive Breakout 1

Thursday, August 1, 2019

2:00pm-3:00pm

Movements are starting at the local and state levels and spreading like wildfire. Perhaps it is the stagnation in DC or perhaps these discreet jurisdictions offer opportunities for new ideas to flourish? Our panelists will discuss how to spark a national campaign at the state level but also what to do if you are forced to defend your national issue, state by state.

NOTES

  • Getting started with national issues at the state level
    • Do your people know their people?
      • Small town connections can lead to big legislative wins 
      • Building relationships with state legislators can pay off in the long term 
        • State legislators often move up to higher office 
      • Record connections but allow advocates to build them on their own and allow them to share their wins with others outside of your organization’s channels
    • Find out what organizations are already on the ground
      • Pursue unlikely strategic partnerships and put local people in control of them
    • Laying the groundwork
      • Do research on the community and where you have strengths/weakness 
      • Develop a strategic plan that is highly localized
      • Collect tell your story (vital to every grassroots movement)
    • Use existing talking points from affiliated offices/partners when you move from state to state
    • Identify stakeholders within and outside your organization 
      • Encourage and support local members to seek opportunities to run for office
        • Leverage new and existing relationships as your movement grow
      • Building your coalition
        • Identify advocates who will
          • Host in-district meetings
          • Write letters to the editor
          • Share their story with legislators
          • Testify
        • Form a campaign plan
          • Find a bill sponsor
          • Develop messaging
          • Leverage partners 
  • Defending national issues state by state
    • Make it personal
      • Matching advocates with legislators or staff with a similar background
    • Brag better — get better at talking about yourself
      • Share press and local wins with governor’s office and members of Congress
    • Do the research (proactive issues)
      • Is the state a full-time or part-time legislature
      • Are there term limits 
      • Where are legislator’s offices and do they even have them
      • Identify friendly states where your issue will get the least resistance
        • Test messaging in these states too to see how it will play before expanding to contentious states 
      • Find if there are other state level organizations working on or interested in the issue
    • Build your network
      • State legislators are more connected to their constituents and more willing to take a stand with only a few active constituents weighing in
      • Use local thinktanks for ideas and also to leverage the relationships they have with state leadership
    • Show your might
      • Organize site visits, district office visits, and fly-ins (lobby day)
        • These are much more impactful on the state level then the are federally
        • These also demonstrate your value and economic impact on the state
        • Using these as an opportunity to present district level economic data directly to legislators can be very beneficial in a way that a fact sheet or letter will not
  • Prioritizing and assessing threats
    • Budget and non budget issues
      • Most states require balanced budgets 
      • Budget cycle dictates the time of year you will be advocating on an issue
    • Start interviewing stakeholders several months before the start of the legislative session
    • Identify issues that may be at the top of the agenda
      • Do this by interviewing lobbying firms and friendly legislators or staff
    • Keep your issues focused — one or two issues for a session don’t spread yourself and your advocates too thin
    • Do as much research as possible from the start of a campaign
      • Both on messaging and the political and economic climate of the state
      • Keep your enemies close
        • Monitor the opposition and do your research