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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   May 2004

Step-by-Step Procedures for Effective Lobbying

SECTION A: Start early with your lobbying efforts. To be successful:

I – Instruct the Chapter Chairperson to:

            A – Do his/her homework:

                        1 – Determine the geographical area covered by your Chapter.

                        2 – Use a computer internet system to go to myflorida.com for the most up-to-date lists.

                        3 – Download or print the names of all candidates and their staff.

                        4 – Download or print the names of all legislators and their staff:

                                    a – Scheduling secretary

                                    b – Secretary

                                    c – Legislative assistants

            B – Write letters of introduction (mentioning any member who knows them personally) to:

                        1 – All candidates running for office: context - interested in their views

                        2 – Winners of all primaries: context - congratulations

                        3 – Winners of general elections: context – congratulations

                        4 – Any candidates that may run again: context – keep us posted on your future

            C – Invite legislators or candidates (if prior to elections) to legislative event:

                        1 – Write letter of invitation to legislator or candidate.

                        2 – Phone legislator or campaign manager to follow up.

                        3 – Call scheduling secretary or campaign manager to confirm.

            D – Ask legislators to provide you with:

                        1 – Information on their “pet” issues

                        2 – Articles and photos for local or state newsletters

            D – Offer to assist with campaign work. Whenever possible:

                        1 – Sponsor fundraisers.

                        2 – Encourage other members to assist in campaigns.

            F – Inform legislators on proposed legislation:

                        1 – How it could affect borrowers (their constituents)

                        2 – How it could affect the mortgage industry and/or originators (also constituents)

 

II – Stay informed on proposed legislation and pass it on to committee members:

            A – Local legislation in real estate, mortgage and related fields

            B – State legislation in real estate, mortgage, small business and title insurance fields

            C – Federal legislation in any related field (NFIB and FAR are good sources)

 

III – Get involved in State Legislative Days:

            A – Consult with FAMB lobbyist for special appointments:

                        1 – Determine who will make special appointments.

                        2 – Determine who will attend special appointments.

                        3 – Arrange for group photos, whenever possible, using media photographer.

                        4 – Provide information to Chapter Chairs to avoid conflicts.

            B – Provide forms to Chapter Chairs to make appointment in Tallahassee:

                        1 – Oversee distribution of forms.

                        2 – Collect information with staff assistance.

                        3 – Coordinate all appointments.

            C – Prepare a position paper:

                        1 – Review material from Gov’t Affairs Committee with EC and lobbyist.

                        2 – Discuss verbiage with FAMB attorney.

                        3 – Obtain assistance of staff to prepare final document and make copies for distribution.

                        4 – Review with lobbying members via email or fax.

                        5 – Provide sample note for each chapter to send to legislators on the “floor” with time and location they reserved in the “gallery” so they can be announced during the session.

            D – Arrange for token gifts, preferably with FAMB logo, for:

                        1 – Legislators (something that they would keep in office or use)

                        2 – Legislative staff (something to eat or use in office)

            E – Arrange for photo sessions:

                        1 – Legislators with members

                        2 – Members only at the Capitol or other landmarks

            F – Officiate at meeting in Tallahassee:

                        1 – Provide instructions on time of transportation.

                        2 – Distribute booklet and review layout of House, Senate and Capital Buildings.

                        3 – Instruct members to visit all legislators who serve their area, even if no appointment was scheduled. Some areas have overlap—better to see them twice than not at all.

                        4 – Distribute position papers and business cards of the lobbying members.

                        5 – Distribute gifts.

            G – Send thank-you letters on FAMB stationary (obtain by email from headquarters)

 

IV – Get involved in Federal Legislative Days:

            A – Make appointments with Senators for self and executive committee.

            B – Follow same procedures as for Tallahassee meeting.

 

SECTION B: Follow these helpful tips for lobbying members:

  1. First and foremost, we are in partnership with our lobbyists. They can accomplish things without us, and we can accomplish things without them, but together we can accomplish much, much more. By developing personal relationships on a local level, we open up the possibility of our legislators calling on us whenever some issue comes up that may affect our   industry. (This is a proven fact in my case, and others have made the same statement at the Gov’t Affairs Committee meetings.) Lobbyists can speak for us in situations where we may      not be readily available or even have the opportunity to address a specific situation or group. Although the making of a law is a relatively long process, making changes to bills, keeping other proposals from being tagged on, and/or clarifying issues for committees happen quickly, or often the opportunity is lost. Our lobbyists are in the capitals and stay on top of these situations to react quickly with information our association provides to them in advance. Therefore, we don’t have to physically be there through the whole process to still benefit. By increasing the number of members our lobbyists serve, we are giving them a stronger position. So solicit others to join!

  2. Check the legislative calendar on line at myflorida.com before scheduling. Know what committees your legislators are on and look to see when the senate and house are actually in secession.

  3. Dress in business attire. You are representing FAMB. Be prepared for colder weather than you are used to, impromptu photos, and much walking. Wear comfortable shoes.

  4. Have someone in your group who can take good photos bring a camera and film. (Rep. Goss asked his assistant to take our photo using his camera and sent everyone—from our business    cards—an enlarged copy. We also have our photo with the first Pres. Bush, Sen. Bob Graham, Sen. Connie Mack, Gen. Milligan, Sen. Fred Dudley, Rep. Nancy Detert, Rep. Keith Arnold, Rep. Tim Ireland, Rep. Greg Gay, and others.) 

  5. Plan extra time to visit the gallery if legislators are in session. Contact your legislator in advance for passes for your group, and ask to be announced as visitors. Make certain you are in the   gallery at the time you stated. Do not embarrass the legislator by not being present if you are announced. He/she may not have the opportunity to announce your group but usually remember you for this gesture.

  6. Review your position papers, and make certain you understand the content. Add business cards from all the people in your visiting group (large paperclip inside the folder). A second set of cards for each office visited is good to hand to the person presenting you to the legislator or his/her assistant. Sign the visitor’s book including a “FAMB” notation as well as the other information.

  7. Go through each building separately – up one, down the next, etc., via connecting bridges when possible. Don’t turn down an appointment to keep in order. Send part of your group, if necessary. It is also allowable to split your group up if you are short of time, but larger groups are more impressive.

  8. Be prepared to “walk and talk” in hallways, elevators, wherever. (One of our members once rode with Bob Dole in a tramcar-underground system to travel within government buildings in Washington.  Some were invited to “legislators only” elevator rides.) Be prepared for impromptu conversations, but tell them you can leave papers and gifts at their office. (Some areas are no longer accessible to the public for security purposes.)

  9. Call or write ahead for special passes for White House or capital tours (when available) through your legislator. Each has a limited number and may have pledged them already if you wait too late.

  10. Don’t underestimate any staff members. He/she may be the one to present your papers or champion your cause.

  11. Pick up business cards of any staff for future letters (introduction, thank you, etc.).

  12. Refreshments are available, usually in the basement levels. Check your guidebooks for these to use as meeting places if a “lobby headquarters” is not set up. In Washington, NAMB usually reserves a room.

  13. Use any extra time to visit places like the Governor’s Mansion, the Florida House, the Mint, the National Monuments, the Smithsonian, the Holocaust Museum, the National Zoo, Union Station, and other historical sites at both the state and national capitals. Bring back something of our nation’s history to share with other members and encourage future   participation in our lobbying efforts. If you can afford to add a little vacation time, check hotels for any specials they may have over weekends when business people often go home. Airfares over the weekends are often much less, too. Sometimes the lower airfare will cover the extra hotel stay, or much of it. If you can enjoy the visit, you will be more likely to make your lobbying time count so the association will be happy to have you attend future meetings.


 


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