The TNM Legislative Action Workshop continues. For this session, TNM Communications Director John Griffing talks us through “Demystifying the Lege: Why You Can Make A Difference.”
Hosted by Raging Elephants Radio’s own Apostle Claver Kamau-Imani, the main thrust of Griffing’s presentation was how unfortunate it is that “guys like [Griffing] even get paid to do things that average citizens could do if they just didn’t think it was so scary or beyond them.” Lobbying one’s politicians is not only a credentialed profession, but something within the abilities of an average Texas citizen, and making one-on-one contact with one’s politicians to ask them questions often has a tremendous effect on policy.
John Griffing described lobbying for regular Texas citizens as the right of “paying customers.” After all, how much do you pay in state taxes? Your representatives owe you their time as part of your membership dues in the Texas club. It’s not as if these senators and representatives are mystical beings that exist on a higher plain of consciousness! They, in fact, owe their offices to you and can spare a few moments to listen to you advocate for the things that you care about. And while we’d like to believe that the folks you send to Austin will stay focused on the promises they made, the truth is that nearly all of them need to be reminded why they’re there.
Besides overcoming the fear-barrier to lobbying, being successful requires being armed with the facts. “It takes just people being curious and having the patience to do a little reading,” said Griffing. You don’t necessarily have to be a subject matter expert but be sure to know something about what you’re talking about before meeting with your politician.
After that, the basic key to being a successful lobbyist is persistence and having a passion for your issues. If you want to make a difference on subjects like property taxes, healthcare, etc. a would-be lobbyist must be invested in their cause and stick to it. You must be driven before you can drive your politicians.
You can watch the video of the entire session below.