HOW TO LOBBY SUCCESSFULLY
Most Dog Legislative Groups are ineffective compared to HSUS and other Animal Rights groups, which having failed on APHIS Breeder legislation, are now succeeding state by state.
04|21|09 | TheDogPress
If we improve on our individual expertise, we become more effective and fighting the onslaught of animal rights legislation. We asked for reprint permission reprint permission because it is one of the most informative, sensible articles on lobbying we’ve ever seen.
Please share the information below with everyone you know who might be willing to help at the grass roots level. Diane Amble also advises developing good relationships with the politicians’ staff and making frequent appointments with legislators so they know your face. Try having the Legislator give an award or recognition to a wonderful volunteer in the community. Hook up with groups that visit nursing homes, etc and get recognition for them. Their work shows what dogs mean to families (voters) and the community.
Go to supermarkets like Wal-Mart to get hundreds of signatures, each on its own letterhead, and send them to all the Legislators. Yes, it is costly, but it has an excellent impact. Hand out an educational flyer to people signing and make sure to include contact info for your group.
Jenny Thrasher, a contributor to WeThePeopleUSA shares notes from a Lobbyist's Handbook:
- If you go to your capitol for any reason, dress up. No jeans, no t-shirts. If you don't know what to wear, go into your bank, and look at what the bank management is wearing. Copy them. Thrift stores carry a lovely array of dress clothes at very reasonable prices. This is very important, because we are trying to break a stereotype, and want to present a PROFESSIONAL APPEARANCE. Nice manners, a big open smile and a handshake will open most doors. Also, take gum and breath mints. Use them.
- The legislators are generally not as personally involved in the outcome of these bills as are we, and most of them are not looking at these bills with the aim to personally attack us. For most of these Representatives, the bill in front of them is just another bill they will vote on during their session. Figure out a way to make it personal for them, a way to make it matter that they not pass that bill.
- The best thing about passing a "puppymill bill" for most legislators is that they think they are passing a "feelgood" bill. It will be something they believe their constituents will praise them for in the next election, and they generally equate it to saving the puppies and kittens, then move on to bills that they consider of genuine importance that will affect far more constituents in these scary economic times. Show them how detrimental it will be economically to pass that bill. Show them just how many constituents will be negatively affected by the outcome of that bill in front of them, and that they will be crucified in the next election for passing such a bad bill. Show them the numbers of constituents who will not vote for them.
- Support your Lobbyists by going up to the capitol and making the rounds with them. This shows faces to the legislators, and shows that your poor lobbyist isn't just working for their own sake. The legislators need to meet the people who will be affected by bad laws, it then becomes personal. It also becomes more real for us, because it's very easy to sit 100 miles away and bitch, but do nothing. Again, no one is going to save you. Go work towards your own salvation- you'll feel better about yourself in the end, because when we defeat this session's devil bills, you will have that warm fuzzy feeling of "I did this! I helped make this happen!" The reverse is also true, and you will have no one to blame but yourself if you did nothing.
- Legislators serve on more than one committee. Legislators also sponsor more than one bill. Figure out which bills are the most important to them. You can usually call up to the Capitol and just ask their aide. This is politics, and all legislators have to operate on the "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" policy. All of these legislators have an interest in at least appearing to be productive during their term. It gets them re-elected. If Rep. Hoohah has sponsored devil bill HB 666, it's possible that he has also sponsored or co-sponsored angel bill HB 777, which he could need support for, because it could be a good bill. If angel bill HB 777 is in Committee, find out how it's doing, and let Rep. Hoohah know how much you and your 5000 club members would like to see it pass, but because he has also sponsored devil bill HB 666, you and your 5000 friends are going to have to oppose that one too. There is nothing wrong with calling up the groups that will be affected by angel bill HB 777 and asking them if they want help with getting their bill passed, because you need help getting your bill defeated. The two bills don't have to be related. This tactic would be an end run around the AR, and involves getting to know your politicians, and their platforms. You could also find out which committees they are on, and if your groups actively oppose each and every vote that a particular Rep is likely to cast, he will get the message loud and clear.
The bottom line here is that all this is politics, and as important as it is to us, the legislators could very well be getting tired of dealing with what they consider to be a small segment of their constituency, and really want to move on to other more "important" matters.
Help them feel ok with not passing these bills, let them know that the media is being fueled by propaganda spewed from the same source as the bill in front of them, and they will more than likely understand what is going on.
Let them know also, if you are a member of the HSUS in order to watch what that group is doing, and make those legislators wonder just how many more of the 10 million members of the HSUS are doing the same thing.
by Jenny Thrasher, courtesy of Diane Amble
Dec 2013 Update: HSUS has in fact succeeded on the Federal Level, planting HSUS devotees into APHIS and other government positions and getting the APHIS Breeder Regulations passed! Also see State Of Mine for current legislation in your state or community.