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Influencing Congress Adopt-a-Congressperson Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Influencing Congress Adopt-a-Congressperson Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Influencing Congress Adopt-a-Congressperson Program

2 Program Overview What is the Adopt-a-Congressperson? Why is it important to the overall strategy of the Campus Climate Challenge? How does it connect to the Week of Action?

3 Where to Start? Identify your Congressperson − Background research − Invite Staff to come to Week of Action events Schedule a meeting with them Send Press clippings to their office Build the relationship Invite Congressperson to Campus during the next Congressional Recess (Feb. 19th-23rd)

4 What does it mean to Adopt-a- Congressperson? Build a relationship Maintain contact with Congressperson on a regular basis Cultivate them as a Climate Champion Apply pressure to take action on Global Warming Let them know that Youth are rising to the challenge of Global Warming and they should too.

5 How do you do it? Invite them to your events Write letters to them Call about upcoming legislation Make an appointment (Lobby) Send them press clippings Use your events to encourage other people to call & write Use the media to carry your message

6 What should your message be? Ask them to make Climate Change a priority Encourage them to Rise to the Climate Challenge Urge them to take the Challenge to the national level Ask for their leadership in adopting a bold, comprehensive, science-based policy to immediately address the climate challenge. Talk about the week of action, both what you’re doing on your campus AND the fact that there over 570 campuses participating across the nation.

7 Tactics Toolbox Have a letter writing party Schedule a meeting to lobby Invite Congressperson’s staff to events on campus Host a welcome party for new Congressperson Bring coalition partners with you to lobby Write a letter to the editor Photo petitions Be creative, brainstorm with your group for fun things you can do!

8 When should you lobby your elected officials? As a part of a strong campaign When an important issue or bill is up in the current session To begin to develop a relationship to promote action on global warming

9 Prep Work Learn everything you can about the issue and how it affects you. Know your official’s background Anticipate questions and have the answers ready. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents arguments. Contact the Sierra Club and other allies working on the issue in advance of your meeting– we might know of recent developments or have suggestions for your plan Prepare what you’re going to say and who will say it. Know what you are asking them for.

10 Setting Up an Appointment Call the office and ask for the meeting. Tell the secretary: −What you will talk about −Who will attend the meeting and what organizations will be represented −How long the meeting will be (you may not have any control over this)

11 Legislative Assistants You probably will not get to meet with the elected official. Don’t be disappointed - LAs have a lot of power. A normal LA’s portfolio includes multiple issues. Be aware that he/she may not be an expert in your area. You must be respectful, they are intelligent people. It can be very helpful to build a personal relationship with an LAs working on environmental issues if you’ll be back to talk about future issues. Connect to them on a personal level.

12 The Meeting What to Bring 2-4 people Visual Aids/Pictures Press clippings Letters of support from constituents

13 The Meeting Have a conversation … and an Agenda 1.Introduce yourself 2.Thank them 3.Introduce your issue 4.Make your argument 5.Ask 6.Listen and Answer Questions 7.Establish Next Steps 8.Follow Up 9.Thank them again.

14 1. Introduce yourself and your organization −Mention that you are from the official’s district −Try to make a connection (i.e. maybe you went to the same high school as the Congressperson) 2. Thank them −For taking the time to meet with you −For previous support of environmental issues (be specific and mention a vote, if possible)

15 3. Introduce your Issue −Stick to one topic, be specific −Talk about your campus campaign 4. Make your Argument −Focus on 1- 3 key points, don’t overload them with facts −Illustrate your point with graphs or pictures. −Hold onto your materials, don’t just give them away. Use them to make your point and engage them in a conversation −“I care” – tell them why and use a brief story to illustrate your passion and connection to the issue

16 5. ASK −Assign one person to make a clear and direct request. −Will you support a strong, science-based policy to achieve 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emission below 1990 levels by 2050? Will you be a champion on climate change by supporting _______ bill? −Make them say no twice. 6. Listen and Answer any questions −Do not lie or make anything up. If you’re not sure say “I don’t know the answer to that questions, but I’d be happy to find out and get back to you with that information.” −Don’t be afraid to interrupt if they get off topic, you only have short amount of time with them. If you must, do it politely.

17 7. Establish Next Steps −Find out a timeline for what happens next −When do you think you’ll have a chance to talk with the Senator about this? Thursday? Great, I’ll give you a call on Friday and talk about the Senator’s response to this. −Write down what agree upon −Ask for their card −Ask for a photo – you give this to media to use in an article about the issue.

18 8. Follow Up Write down what you’ve learned as soon as you leave. Share the information with allies coordinating the campaign. Give any staff who helped you prepare a call and let them know how it went! Send a thank-you note to the LA or official restating your arguments and any commitments that were made. Follow through with any commitments you made during the meeting. Think about you next step in influencing your Congressperson

19 Be Strategic Everything you do should be part of an overall plan to achieve the goals of your campaign.

20 Questions?

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