Follow Up Letter to Corporate Business Invitation by nbe11107


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									Engaging Policymakers on Early Childhood:
  Effective Strategies and Opportunities

  Rep. Nora Slawik, Chair, Early Childhood Finance and
          Policy Division, Minnesota
  Stephanie Rubin, Senior Officer, Pew Center on the States

                       September 2009
     Effective Advocacy: It’s a Contact Sport!

•          Hearing directly from business and other community leaders
           sends a strong message.

•          Policymakers gauge voter interest in an issue in part based on
           whether and what they hear from their constituents and
           community leaders.

•          Personal stories and local perspectives are very persuasive.

•          Early childhood issues need more legislative champions from
           both political parties. Build a pipeline of supporters: local and
           state policymaker champions may rise to more powerful state or
           federal positions in the future.

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     As in the Corporate World: Preparation is Critical

•          Understand and leverage the legislative process, however slow
           and frustrating.

•          Be familiar with the policymaker’s background and interests (e.g.
           he was a pediatrician, she sat on the local United Way) and tie it
           to your issue. The background of spouses may also be relevant.

•          Be educated about who the key policymakers are on early
           childhood issues:

                   governor and relevant agency directors

                   chairs and vice chairs of relevant committees

                   caucus leaders, majority and minority leaders

                   your representatives
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For Long Term Success: Build a Relationship

•          To ensure proven programs are well implemented and scaled
           up with high quality, also meet with the regulators: agency
           directors and staff, commissioners, board members, etc.

•          If your industry association or group has taken a support
           position on early childhood and employs a lobbyist, ensure
           that he/she lobbies on early childhood issues at the Capitol.

•          Invite policymakers to join you on a tour of a high quality early
           childhood program in their district: seeing is believing.

•          Educate legislative and gubernatorial candidates.

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 Meeting with Policymakers: Timing is Key

•          Ensure the timing of your call or meeting is appropriate:

               Meet with legislators in the Fall before legislative session
                begins, when they prefer to meet in their district. These
                pre-session meetings are a perfect opportunity to discuss
                the issues at length and build a personal relationship; and

               Meet during session before legislation is heard in
                committee or on the House or Senate Floor.

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Winning at the State Capitol: Making Your Case
•          Attend legislative meetings with an advocacy partner who
           knows the intricate policy details (so you don’t have to).

•          Good to meet with staff (with or without the policymaker); they
           are critical conduits of information to policymakers and
           manage legislative efforts.

•          Bring materials to leave behind: policy briefs, copies of key
           media coverage, letters of support, etc.

•          Your “ask” should align with what the early childhood groups
           and legislative champions are advocating. Veering off course
           will cause confusion.

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Winning at the State Capitol: Bring the Issue Home

•          Explain why early childhood issues are meaningful to you and
           an urgent issue: discuss your involvement in local programs,
           the academic research including relevant local data, how
           early childhood builds human capital and promotes economic
           development, etc.

•          Indicate your willingness to stand with that legislator at a
           public event in support of early childhood or reach out to other
           legislators who may be on the fence.

•          Follow up with a thank you letter, call and/or invitation to a
           meeting of your colleagues. They appreciate opportunities to
           publicly highlight their hard work.

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Common Pitfalls in Engaging Policymakers
•          Clash of realities: how does your policy ask fit into the budget and
           political environment?

•          Believing you need to answer the question commonly asked by
           policymakers: “how should we pay for this?” when you don’t.

•          Making a policy request that does not align with what the early
           childhood community seeks or where legislators are headed. Be on

•          Avoiding the Capitol due to the frustrating committee schedule.

•          Weighing in too late in the legislative process.

•          Not reaching out in a bipartisan manner.

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                      The Business Leader Voice
                          Attracts Attention
                August 9, 2007            June 14, 2009

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