Saturday, February 13, 2010

Caveat Lectores on Lobbying

The Lector just finished conducting a Lectores Lobbying School workshop with Florida’s Pasco County Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 4420. I had a great time and hope they did as well. This is a young Local on nearly 400 members that has come a long way in a short time. Things are not perfect, but remember these are some hard times to get a public sector union local going and growing. I am proud of President Ralph Grant and the other union activists with Local 4420 who have worked so hard. We had just the right crowd to go through the program and interact with each other. Thanks for letting me be a part of your success. A couple of years ago we spent the day working on essential skills for stewards and grievance processing. That was a good day too.

The Lectores Lobbying School approaches successful political activism from the three indispensable parts of any good political program.

• Public Relations
• Political Activity
• Lobbying

A hat trick of all three functions is the recipe for success. Anything less is an exercise in failure.

Why do we offer a lobbying seminar? That’s easy. Your lobbying skills need punching up to passable levels, and we at Lectores know how to do it.

Here is a sampler of what we discussed:

Lobbying: The Reason and the Ritual

• Development of a credible lobbying program for the Local is the major purpose for encouraging the Local’s PR program and relentless political involvement.
• Political involvement means nothing if nothing comes from the politics.
• There is an assumption that identifying and supporting labor-oriented candidates who win elections will solve the problems of the labor movement.
• Organized labor places too little importance on developing and maintaining a credible lobbying program at the same time the political program is being developed.
• For some unexplained and immature reason we tend to take for granted that successful lobbying will be the windfall of a good day at the polls.
• We do not properly plan for what we will do when our candidate does not win. Instead, we all too often recede back into the darkness and lick our wounds in the hope we will do better next time.
• When we do this, our fortunes fade faster than a winter suntan from Florida.
• Most journeyman lobbyists have learned their craft only with experience sharpened by the pain of mistakes mixed with triumphs.
• Few lobbyists set out, as they prepare for a career, to become a lobbyist.
• People learn to lobby because of a situational need or opportunity, depending on their viewpoint.
• Frequently, the role of lobbyist is an adjunct responsibility of another position in an organization.
• Experience is a good but inefficient teacher when there are better ways to learn.
• Politicians and lobbyists do not have an excellent reputation among much of the population or your members.
• Both are as necessary to our representative/democratic form of government as the air we breathe.
• Persons seeking to influence the actions of legislators are nothing new. Although lobbying has a perpetual bad implication, it is an essential function of democratic governance.
• No matter what level of government, legislators are barraged with too much information to make informed decisions without more focused input from lobbyists.
• While the legislators may avoid participation from those who are not trusted or represent an unwelcome viewpoint, legislators seek input from those they trust.
• Why they trust some more than others is of the most interest to us.

Give us a call or email and see what we can do to get you and your Local more involved in political action and effective lobbying.

And Oh yes, have a nice day?


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