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Maximizing Your Potential on Capitol Hill

Maximizing Your Potential on Capitol Hill

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Maximizing Your Potential on Capitol Hill

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  1. Maximizing Your Potential on Capitol Hill CEC CAN Meeting June 2014

  2. Key Points for This Discussion • Why are we here? • What can you expect on Capitol Hill? • Some thoughts and ideas: What Works / What Doesn’t • The Competition and The Noise Level in DC • Strategies for Your Meetings • Debriefing • Importance of Follow-up

  3. Welcome to D.C. • Why are we here? • Because together, we can make a difference, we can create change, we can improve the quality of services for all students and ensure civil rights are upheld. • What would happen if CEC didn’t exist in DC? “More than any other issue, education is the civil rights issue of our generation and it can't wait—because tomorrow won't wait—the world won't wait—and our children won't wait.” – U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan • September 24, 2009

  4. “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate”. - Thomas Jefferson

  5. All Means All

  6. U.S. Constitution The First Amendment • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  7. How lucky are we…. • To be here! • To have this amazing opportunity! • To have the right to meet with our representatives! • And to be heard by our representatives! • And, to expect them to listen!

  8. HOWEVER… "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously."  Hubert H. Humphrey Vice President & U.S. Senator

  9. Another look at Freedom of Speech • The constitution gives us the amazing right we call “Freedom of Speech”. • The flip side of that right is the “Freedom to not speak” • Know when to speak and know when to listen

  10. EFFECTIVE??? CEC-TAG Legislative Chair, Dr. Julia Roberts with Senate Minority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell

  11. EFFECTIVE???

  12. EFFECTIVE???

  13. EFFECTIVE???

  14. A HIGHLY COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT • $3.47 Billion in Lobbying Costs in 2009 ($91 million on education) • 13,739 Registered Lobbyists (about 26 per Member of Congress) • Diversity of issues, interests, resources, priorities

  15. Competing With All That • CEC’s Legislative Agenda, Initiatives & Strategies • Outreach Efforts • Children and Youth Action Network • Online Legislative Action Center • THIS MEETING • FOLLOW-UP FROM THIS MEETING

  16. Who are Members of Congress? • Before they were elected officials they were… - Lawyers - Physicians - Educators - Journalists - Business Executives - Social Workers - Homemakers - Veterinarians - Farmers - Baseball Player - Comic (!!) - Car Dealership Owner

  17. Don’t forget the impact of the Tea Party!!! • Cut spending!! • Laser focus on deficit reduction • Eliminate “ineffective” programs And in America, isn’t it wonderful that citizens have the right to organize, even if we don’t agree? Remember the concept of checks and balances?

  18. Representatives and their staff (cont.) • Basically, most members of congress are people just like you and I. They just made a different career choice than we did. • Legislative Staff (Legislative Assistant) on average are 26 years old! • They don’t have as much knowledge and experience as you but you may be surprised about how knowledgeable they are!

  19. What to expect on your visits to Capitol Hill

  20. Structure and Operations of A Congressional Office • Turbulent, Fast-Paced Environment • Members scheduled to the minute • Other groups of constituents in town • Committee Hearings • The Workload • The Unexpected

  21. Senate offices(Dirksen, Russell, Hart bldgs.)- more spacious, comfortable • House offices (Cannon, Longworth, Rayburn) – smaller, cramped, older furniture • Senate side visits - typically meet in a conference room • House side visits – if your lucky, a conference room, maybe in the greeting area, maybe at the LA’s desk, maybe in the hallway?

  22. You might meet with the Representative • You might meet with the Legislative Assistant • Maybe you have an appointment with the representative but they get called to a vote or meeting, then you meet with someone else… • Most of our representatives are not on the Education committees on either side • Most LA’s have multiple duties: LA for Education, transportation, workforce, etc.

  23. DON’T be disappointed if you are not able to meet with your senator or congressman. • The reality is that the LA’s do most of the work and become the experts on education issues • The LA’s job is to advise the representative on how to vote • The LA has the influence!

  24. Advocacy Methods

  25. All Advocacy Methods Require: • Planning Ahead • Assess Past Support When Determining 1-2 Priorities. • Prepare a Specific, Measurable “Ask.” Focus Discussion on 1 or 2 Issues • Know Going in that FOLLOW-UP WILL BE ESSENTIAL

  26. Know Your Audience • A typical Member/Aide may ask themselves: • Who are these people? • What will they want me to do? • Should I care? Will this make a difference back home? • What can I ask them to do? • Will they be satisfied with this meeting? • Will they follow-up?

  27. My Top / Priority Goal(s) are: • To establish a relationship (LA’s typically change from year to year) • To help them feel comfortable with me • To be their liaison or sounding board on educational issues and the impact back home • To help them understand issues where they have little to no experience or need clarification • To help them understand the impact of their decisions back home and to hopefully guide them into making good decisions!

  28. A little advice: Offer to work together on issues, collaborate, consult, guide… VS Demand Diplomacy is key!

  29. Diplomacy “The art of having someone else do something your way and being happy to do so”

  30. Looking at diplomacy another way… “The principle of give and take is the principle of diplomacy-give one and take ten” –Mark Twain

  31. Know Your Audience • Be ready, know who you’re meeting/emailing/talking with • Good Intro – Name, Hometown, Any Connection,Your Practice and Purpose of Visit • Deliver Key Message Points • Be ready to listen and discuss • Make Intention to Follow-up Clear

  32. Reminders: • Dress professionally • Sit up straight • Be engaged • Smile, be friendly • Remember the military definition of being on time: “If your on time, your late!” • Don’t be nervous, their just mere mortals! • And finally, don’t forget, you know more than they do!!

  33. When we talk about Issues or Legislation- • State your purpose up front • Where your comments pertain to specific legislation, identify accordingly, e.g., House bill: H.R. __Senate bill: S.__ • Comment on what it is you like and/or support • Comment on the impact (In your state or congressional district) of what is being considered, tell the story • Comment on what you would like to see changed • If a section is unclear, say so • Always provide model language and suggestions

  34. What do you believe? • What do you believe is the role of the federal government in education?

  35. What do you believe? • Does your belief change depending on the law/regulation? (IDEA vs ESEA)

  36. What do you believe? • Is IDEA a funding Act or a Civil Rights Act? • Is ESEA a funding Act or a Civil Rights Act?

  37. What do you believe? • Should the federal government have a role in funding / determining / creating laws or policy regarding education programs or is that a State’s Right / responsibility?

  38. Follow-Up is EVERYTHING • Relationships Make ALL the Difference • Be The “Go-To” Resource on Special/Gifted Education Issues for Your Senators and Representative • Thank You Note • Follow-up E-mail • Congressional Recess Visits / Town Hall Mtgs • Reaching Out to Others…Colleagues, Family, Neighbors • Invitation to visit successful special/gifted ed program • Scheduled, Quarterly Follow-up

  39. Your Turn! • Any concerns, unanswered questions, fears? • Does it all seem about as clear as mud? • Do you feel like your going into a foreign country and don’t know the language? • I promise that by the time we get to Capitol Hill, Deb and Kim will have taught you everything you need to know and you will be more than prepared!!

  40. THANK YOU!