Capitol Hill Basics How long will it take you to get to Capitol Hill from the Marriott? Metro Train: You should leave hotel one hour before your first meeting. You should leave hotel one hour before your first meeting or event on the Hill. Trains are not a fool proof travel method. Train service is slow outside of rush hour. You will need to buy a ticket. Trains are market by color and final destination!
Capitol Hill Basics Security on the Hill is like an airport: Metal detectors and x-ray machines Put bags, folders, belts, watches and other metal objects in the x- ray machine Do not remove your shoes or jacket Sometimes Capitol Visitor Center has stricter requirements due to increased tourist traffic If a Member’s office door is closed, just open the door. No need to knock.
What sessions should I attend? Monday 3/3 Navigating Capitol Hill General Session on Perkins Act reauthorization Policy Breakout Sessions (pick one) ACTE Messaging Briefing Tuesday 3/4 Advocacy in a partisan environment Offsite general session with Hill staff and Members of Congress.
Legislative Topics Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Higher Education Act (HEA) Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act Federal funding for fiscal year 2015 (FY15) www.acteonline.org
Who are your Legislators? Senator Tom Harkin Senator Chuck Grassley Rep. Bruce Braley (D-1st) Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-2nd) Rep. Tom Latham (R-3rd) Rep. Steve King (R-4th)
How can you prepare? Know about the legislative topics being dealt with in Congress right now. Find info on ACTE’s Policy Watch Blog. Know your Member’s priorities for education. Check out their official websites. (ex. harkin.senate.gov & braley.house.gov) Know your CTE story. Come prepared to talk about your experience in CTE and how it has prepared you to be college and career ready. If you have data on your schools or programs to support your story, bring it along.
What to expect on the Hill Expect bipartisan support for CTE but a partisan atmosphere over education in general Expect to meet with staff of your Members of Congress Expect to have to answer questions about your experiences in CTE and how it’s preparing you for careers and postsecondary education
1. Be informed. Know the issues – visit acteonline.org, read “CTE Policy Watch Blog.” Know the legislator – check out his/her voting record and background. (limited for new members) 2. Be prepared. Have data and specifics – How will legislation impact your school and your district? Know your position and the rationale for that position. (acteonline.org, “CTE Policy Watch Blog.”) Lobbying Tips
3. Be friendly. Don’t let persuasion turn into a threat. Don’t fight negativity with negativity. If you can find something the legislator did well, compliment that action. 4. Be open. Be prepared to listen and to speak. Structure the meeting so that you have an opportunity to do both. Lobbying Tips
5. Be calm. Maintain a professional demeanor. Don’t get flustered – know your issue and bring the discussion back to your point. 6. Give examples. Most Members of Congress are not educators by profession, so the more examples you can give of the impact of legislation on students and schools within your own district, the more persuasive your arguments will be. Lobbying Tips
7. Don’t argue. If the legislator disagrees with you, don’t argue. You want to present your case, not necessarily win it. 8. Don’t apologize. Never apologize for communicating your positions. You are a constituent, and it is your legislator’s and his or her staff’s job to listen to you. Lobbying Tips
9. Don’t get sidetracked. Don’t let the legislator or staff sidetrack you on other issues. Stick to the issue and bring it back! Don’t get defensive or get dragged into making seat-of- the-pants selections among education priorities. 10. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know. If a legislator tries to change the subject to issues in which you don’t have a solid grounding, don’t bite. If you’re not sure of an answer, say, “I’ll check and get back to you.” Lobbying Tips
11. Find common ground. Even if a legislator does not support your position, he/she may still believe in the value of public education. Even if he/she doesn’t believe in that, every member has the responsibility of attending to the concerns of all his/her constituents! Lobbying Tips
12. Don’t give up. Continue to keep your legislator informed about the impact of an issue, even after it has passed. If they voted to support a program that works, let them know how it works. If they opposed a program that was successful, let them know it works. If they opposed or supported a program that wasn’t enacted, let them know the need still exists. Lobbying Tips
What is your message for Congress? Tell Members of Congress how critical Perkins, CTE education and job training programs are for you and your community! Be sure to stress the need for investment in CTE education and that any cut in funding is unacceptable! Use data and success stories to highlight your point. Explain that without federal funding and support these programs are not possible!