Faith in Democracy

“Someday my citizenship will be in
Heaven…but right now I’m registered to
vote in Cook County, Illinois.” —Dwight L.
Faith in Texas
An Advocacy Primer
Helping YOU Impact Texas by…
Describing the public policy landscape
Explaining the issues
Providing the tools
Issuing the calls
Clarifying the Texas focus
Texas Impact—
your membership organization
• Judicatories
• Congregations and Clubs
• Individuals
Your membership is what makes it work!
Lobby Skills Made in Heaven
God has not given us a spirit of
timidity, but a spirit of power
and love and self-control. 2
Timothy 1:7
What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, love kindness
and walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8
Getting to Know The Lege
• Regular session: 140 consecutive days
every 2 years
• All the time not in Session is “interim”
• Bi-cameral
• 150 House members, 31 Senate members
• 33 House committees, 15 Senate
• House elections every 2 years
• Senate elections every 6 years (staggered)
• Lt. Governor (statewide election)
• Speaker (internal election)
Like a Whole Nuther Country…
Only 9 states have a biennial budget
• Indiana
• Minnesota
• N Hampshire
• N. Carolina
• N. Dakota
• Oregon
• Texas
• Wash state
• Wyoming
Only 6 states have a biennial legislature
• Arkansas
• Montana
• Nevada
• N. Dakota
• Oregon
• Texas
“GAA”—The Must-Pass Bill
“BRE”—The Must-Use Bottom Line
When the Legislature meets, only required to
pass the budget BUT…
• During 80th session (2007), introduced 10,990
bills, passed 5,900, vetoed 54
• Already 1,510 introduced in 2009
• 6,000 phone calls during Session, 1,500
letters, 10-15 visitors per day—more for
committee chairs
Getting a Word in Edgewise
Who, What, When, Where, Why?
WHO(m) do you need to influence?
Your member directly
Legislative staff
Legislative leadership
Someone you know with more influence in
the Lege than you have
• The position of some group, so they will try to
influence the Lege the way you want
WHAT do you want from them?
• Promise to do
• Vote on specific bill?
• Talk to someone for you?
• Pass a resolution, send a
letter, sign a postcard,
come to an event?
WHEN do you need to get your
message out?
• Do you want them to file a
• Do you want them to
support a bill or concept?
• Do you want them to
support or oppose specific
• Do you want them to try to
“kill a bill”?
WHERE is the best place to
communicate with them?
In their district office?
At the Capitol?
In public?
In private?
WHY should they listen to YOU?
First Level Engagement
• Emails
• Petitions
• Demonstrations/vigils
Impersonal, little effort
Second Level Engagement
• Letters
• Phone calls
Personal, little effort
Third Level Engagement
• “LTEs”
• Testimony
• Press conferences
Impersonal, big effort
Fourth Level Engagement
Personal Meetings
Personal, big effort
The Magic Formula
(works with non-legislators, too!)
No creative writing
No mystery stories
Think “elevator speech”
1-2-3 (4)
1. Who you are, and why they should care what
you think
2. What you’re concerned about, and maybe a
little background on the issue—bullets if
more than two sentences
3. The legislative outcome you want, and the
specific steps needed to accomplish it
4. The consequences if things don’t go your way
(no threats please!)
Inside “The Pink Building”
Have a successful meeting:
• Make an appointment, even at the last minute
• Take one or two “leave-behinds”
• Practice your talking points
• Set your priorities
• Know your time constraints
• Know what you want to achieve
• Love the staff
• Thank everyone
Have Fun!
Strength in Numbers
Groups Serve People, People Own Groups
Groups and Coalitions:
Give you information
Amplify your voice
Deliver your message
Provide processes
Lawmakers care about constituents…Groups don’t vote!
21st Century Advocacy
Good Updates
Don’t assume you agree with the author
Pros and cons
Authority sources
Faith foundation
Links to learn more
Good Action Alerts
Include enough background
Have a clear position
Offer an opportunity
Give clear instructions
Don’t yell “fire” (unless there’s really smoke)
It’s Your Texas Impact!
Call for updates
Websites for more info
Order materials
Request presentations
Become a leader

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