Guest Post by Chris Holbert,
Almost all advocacy for and against bills is based on telling legislators to vote “Yes” for one set of reasons or to vote “No” for another set of reasons. That’s fine and I’m not suggesting that sharing your opinion of a bill is somehow inappropriate.
Professional advocates, meaning lobbyists, generally don’t tell legislators up front what their position is on a given bill. Why? Because those professionals understand that knowledge is power. They understand that it is more important and empowering to know whether the legislator has a position on that bill and, if so, what that position is, either “Yes” or “No.”
When advocating for or against a bill, I encourage you to ask these questions of those who can/will vote on that bill:
1) Are you familiar with the bill?
2) Have you taken a position on the bill?
3) What is your position on the bill?
From there, you would be empowered to respond in one of three very effective ways. For those who agree with your position, respond with “Thank you.” For those who disagree with your position, respond with “Why?” For those who are undecided, respond with your list of reasons to vote “Yes” or “No” on that bill… which is what almost all advocacy does now, but without first asking those empowering questions.
Telling is good, knowing is better. Do both. Ask questions. Then, you’ll know.
Make it a great day!
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