It’s Tuesday. Wear Red. Email your legislators. “Don’t mess with our TRS.”
At our Local’s Governing Board meeting last night we made plans for our back-home lobbying efforts. In past years, this would have been one part of our campaign to fill a bus with members and head down to Springfield for a mass lobbing effort. IEA leadership, in their wisdom, decided to cancel that this year.
One of our local Association leaders, Jerry Mulvihill, wrote IEA about this:
I’ve been doing this for many years. What I need are the resources to be able to contact other IEA members in my legislative district so that we can work together instead of lobbying individually. Also, the point of Lobby Days was to make a statement of organization strength, right? Would Wisconsin have stayed away from the state capitol if the building was under renovation? I think not.
In the 35th, we are about to elect a new state rep. Any IEA members who line in the 35th District out there who want to lobby the new rep with me? Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
IEA President Cinda Klickna responded to Jerry:
I’ve been lobbying lawmakers for more than 30 years, so I certainly agree with you that individual lobbying is not nearly as effective as group lobbying.
After the Board discussed Lobby Day at SLA, the IPACE Committee (comprised of elected members of the IEA Board of Directors) decided to change the member lobbying strategy in 2012. This was based on several factors. One was the need to increase the number of members who lobby and to increase the number of legislator contacts. Having back home efforts seemed to be worth trying. Also, was the fact that the current Statehouse construction project will make it very difficult to have a successful Lobby Day this year.
The Board and the other IPACE Committee members received comments from members who said that Springfield Lobby Days seemed to be declining in effectiveness.
They felt, as did the IPACE Committee members, that a new approach was worth considering. That is why the decision to promote “Back Home Lobby Days (home district lobbying) was made.
One great advantage of the in-district strategy is that IEA members, since they are close to home, have the opportunity to contact their legislators, in small groups, several times during the session, rather than just one contact on one day. Someone once invited me to do that and I hope you and others will invite more members to accompany you so that we can build our member engagement in political action.
I urge every IEA member who wants to protect pensions and to fight for better teaching and learning conditions to contact their region’s Grassroots Political Activist (GPA). The GPAs are listed by IEA Region here: http://bit.ly/xlnT5H
More information on in-district lobbying is on the IEA website (www.ieanea.org)
Our best chance for success is if we all work as a team. Good luck with your in-district lobbying effort.
To aid in this effort, I’m sure Cinda would support my New Business Item at the RA:
The RA directs the IEA Board of Directors to create and make available to all members an opt-in electronic system, accessible through the IEA web page, where members can contact other members residing in the same legislative and state senate districts for the purposes of coordinating back-home lobbying efforts.