Political Strategy: Fun for Everyone!
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Political Strategy: Fun for Everyone!

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Political Strategy: Fun for Everyone! Political Strategy: Fun for Everyone! Presentation Transcript

  • John Peller Director of Government Relations AIDS Foundation of Chicago September 2010 Political Strategy: Fun for Everyone
  • Disclaimer…
    • NAF Southern REACH grants supports advocacy and not lobbying.
    • Our tips cover planning and strategy development but actual lobbying costs must be covered by other sources
  • The key elements
    • Know your political environment
    • Know the timeframe
    • Plan… plan… plan…
    • Develop your message
    • Adjust plans to changing political winds
    • Lather, rinse, repeat
  • Know your political environment
    • Who is in power? Who is REALLY in power?
    • Among lawmakers, who gets along?
    • Who doesn’t get along?
    • What are the various caucuses, and how do they relate?
    • What are the hot topics, and how can you glom on?
    • Know the timeframe.
    • Know your allies or make some… coalitions are key!
  • Framing controversial topics EXAMPLE: Non-prescription syringe purchase bill
    • - Challenge: prejudice against drug users and fear of appearing to avail drug use
    • - Senate Republican sponsor framed the issue in terms of his diabetic wife needing unfettered access to sterile syringes
    • Efforts led by a coalition of doctors, pharmacists, public health professionals, retail merchants (i.e., AIDS orgs and drug users were less prominent)
    • - Law passed in 2003
  • The Battle over Values EXAMPLE: failed effort to repeal principal notification law
    • Challenge: Principals oppose repeal of law requiring health depts to notify schools of HIV+ students
    • Parents and public health experts testified on heightened stigma caused by the law, lack of public health evidence supporting it, and concern universal precautions might not be followed, as required
    • Despite compelling evidence, lawmakers rejected the law’s repeal
  • The Battle over Values EXAMPLE: failed effort to repeal principal notification law
    • What did we learn?
      • Powerful interests (in this case, principals) can sway the debate no matter the evidence
      • Next approach must find a way to work with principal and/or generate sufficient pressure from a constituency equally or more powerful that this block
  • Personality Feuds State Budget Stalled By Political Stalemate
    • A bitter dispute between House Speaker and Governor over powers to set regulations hampered hundreds of bills including state budget
    • By Speaker’s directive, House bills carried rider mandating a joint House/Senate panel to approve regulations, a provision vehemently opposed by the Governor
    • Substantive legislation—even where otherwise there was agreement—languished as a result of this impasse
    • Lesson: even the best laid plans can be stalled by petty disputes. Senate-drafted bills had a better chance of sidestepping the feud (though not entirely)
  • KNOW YOUR TIMEFRAME
    • You’re on their calendar, not yours
    • Know deadlines for bill introduction, committee consideration, budget issues
    • If you miss a deadline, it’s likely over till next year (unless you find a creative way to get it amended to something moving)
  • Appealing to the Lawmakers’ Needs EXAMPLE: ADAP funding
    • IL ADAP was $5-$7 million short
    • Supporting ADAP aligned with one of the Governor’s key goals – appealing to those concerned about AIDS before an upcoming reelection.
    • Lessons: timing and politics matter
  • Changing Times Change Political Calculus EXAMPLE: Testing expansion
    • A Midwestern advocacy organization asked for $2 million to implement CDC routine testing recommendations/new testing law
    • Budget implementation bill designated $500K for HIV testing expansion
    • In the wake of the recession, health department subsequently spent the money on other purposes
    • Advocates did not challenge the health dept. because they realized there was no other option.
    • LESSON: Environmental changes have an impact; the need for advocacy/monitoring never end
  • Plan, Plan, Plan
    • Know lawmakers’ timeline
    • What elements do you need, and when do you need them?
    • What will the opposition say?
    • Then be prepared to change your plans, messaging, strategy to prevailing political needs
  • Slow Economy – Fast Strategy Example: The impact of the economy
    • With projections of a slow recovery, AIDS budget advocacy might need to:
    •   Focus on economic consequences of failure to curb HIV/AIDS
    • Economic impact by category, year, population, state, taxpayer
    • Discuss the impact of HIV disparities on jobs and community revitalization
      • calculate the amount saved by states as a result of federal AIDS funding
      • calculate the future deficit costs of not curbing HIV/AIDS
  • Change at the top can change strategy Example: Nat’l HIV/AIDS Strategy
    • What might happen if there's shift in power in the November elections? How might this impact our implementation strategy? Possible directions:
    • Weaker White House may required more focus on Congress
    • More emphasis on Senate (if it remains in Democratic control)
    • Deliberate appeals to Republicans and their values (such as cost savings)
    • Greater engagement of states, particularly conservative states
    • Advocacy to garner congressional support for NHAS (resolution, legislation)
    • Need to cultivate GOP spokespeople
  • Other strategy elements
    • Start in the House, Senate or both?
    • How do you pick a sponsor?
    • What groups do you engage beforehand, and which don’t you engage?
    • What buzzwords should be in your bill or not in your bill?
  • Coalitions
    • Who can you work with to capitalize on political dynamics?
    • Who can reach a legislator that you can’t reach?
    • How do you get someone to understand that they should join your fight?
    • How can you engage clergy and FBOs?
  • Where to learn more
    • Newspapers
    • StateHealthFacts.org (state’s government profile)
    • Your legislature’s website
    • Advocacy networks
    • Lobbyists and lawmakers
    • Political insider newsletters/websites: http://www.doseofchange.org/?page_id=78
  • Statehealthfacts.org
  • We’ll see you in New Orleans!
    • In the meantime – send along any questions to:
    • Jim Merrell
    • jmerrell@aidschicago.org
    • 312-784-9048
    • doseofchange.org