Citizens Advocacy Action Team–Lobbying at the State & Local Levels

Citizen Advocacy Action Team

lobbyingThe purpose of Citizen Advocacy is to make it easier for common people to influence the legislative process at the State, County, and City levels. People’s voices must be heard to counter the litany of industry lobbyists who increasingly are, as the cartoon depicts, former legislators who know the ropes and know the people inside the Beltway and inside the Roundhouse. To counter their influence, Retake will develop communication networks of individuals living in different House, Senate, City Council, and County Commission districts and use that network to deliver timely, concise, and actionable information to individuals committed to advocating with their representatives. The Team will support, coordinate, and communicate with other progressive lobbying organizations (like IIATSE, Common Cause, Conservation Voters of NM, Sierra Club, etc.) to maximize the impact of everyone’s efforts. In the first year, we will largely take direction from experienced progressive lobbyists, support their efforts by activating an increasingly large number of supporters statewide, and learn the ropes. Even without having our own legislative agenda and list of bills we are advancing, as reflected below, the complexity of this work will require an additional layering of coordination.

Citizen Advocacy Coordinators. Two coordinators would oversee the Action Team and its Issue Coordinators. Responsibilities would include:

  • Coordinate Issue and Network Coordinators;
  • Coordinate with Social Media and Media Coordinators to maximize use of both media in advancing priority bills;
  • Participate in alternate week Coordinator Meetings to ensure collaboration across Action Teams.

Issue-Specific Coordinators. This activity has many moving parts and many possible areas of activity. Ideally, we would have two Coordinators for each issue area we are focused on. In most instances, there will already be one or more experienced advocacy groups lobbying for each issue, and Issue Coordinators will work with them, support their efforts, secure support from other Action Team members, and learn from the more experienced lobbyists. When legislation is being considered in relation to each of our focus issues, the Coordinator would:

  • Track the bill’s movement to and from committees;
  • Communicate with others lobbying on the issue and the bill’s House and Senate sponsor;
  • Direct other Citizen Activists to attend committee meetings, testify, and advocate with individual committee and Sen./House members;

Network Coordinators. Network Coordinators will manage communication throughout the Retake Our Democracy membership. Team members will develop networks, likely along Senate and House district boundaries, so that when pivotal actions in the legislature are imminent, Network Coordinators can send messages to individuals in districts of key representatives. Network coordinators will provide speaking / email points and contact information for the targeted representatives.