In 2012, IEA members can lobby close to home

The Illinois Statehouse is under renovation, but IEA members cannot let the limited access to the State Capitol Building stop them from lobbying their state senators and representatives on school, funding, pensions and all the other issues so important to public education.

IEA leaders are urging members to participate in “Back Home Lobby Days,

IEA members can directly contact and lobby their state representatives and senators by meeting with the legislators in their home districts when the legislature is not in Springfield.

Legislators understand how important it is for them to meet with their constituents and the legislator’s home district makes for a setting in which IEA members can outline what they want and expect from their elected officials.

When should members lobby?

Legislators are back home several weeks prior to the March Primary. Anytime legislators are not scheduled to be in Springfield is a good time to schedule a meeting in the home district with the people who make the laws that control teaching and learning conditions.

IEA will be making announcements throughout the 2012 legislative session about home district lobbying opportunities. Keep checking the IEA Website.

Here is a step-by-step explanation of how to set up a successful in-district meeting with your legislator:
  1. Go to  IEA website. Under the Legislative Tab, click on Contact Your Legislator.
  2. Then, go to the Elected Officials tab. If you know your legislator, go to member search where you will find contact information including phone numbers to call your legislator’s office and schedule a meeting.
  3. If you do not know who your legislator is, click on the My Representatives link and enter your zip code to get contact information needed to schedule a meeting.
We encourage you to invite your colleagues, Region Chair, Uniserv Director and GPA. You can contact them directly, or call your region office and ask that they contact you.
Another source of information is your building representative.

Downloads/Links

The Illinois Teachers and Neighbors United database offers users the opportunity to opt-in for the purpose of finding pro-public education individuals with whom you can choose to coordinate local, political activity. This link does not imply IEA endorsement but is a notification of some of its members’ activities. NOTE: IEA does not own or operate this database and accepts no responsibility for what happens to personal information that users input into the database, including whether that information may be shared or sold.

Please read the databases’ Policies and Terms disclaimer carefully before opting in.

Comments

  1. Jim Grimes says:

    One of the most effective tools we’ve found in local campaign organizing and lobbying efforts is to have a quick political action meeting with your local membership. Share the information from the IEA websites. Focus on the items that affect members now — the attack on our pensions, possible loss of retired teacher and college instructor health insurance, and looming state budget cuts for their school or college. Send an e-mail using the IEA website. Then organize member visits to local legislator’s offices.
    Another tactic is to encourage members to volunteer to help our IPACE IEA and NEA recommended candidates. Their time and work is worth a great deal and can compensate for money pouring into many anti-union and anti-public education candidates’ campaigns.

  2. Thank you for including the link on your Back Home Lobby page to the Illinois Teachers and Neighbors United opt-in data base. I would encourage IEA members to go to it, sign up, find their legislative district and hook up with other political activists in order to work together on education and pension issues.

  3. IEA Governent Relations says:

    Hello:
    The information on how to organize a in-district lobbying meeting has been updated with links to contact information on legislators.

    For those members who have yet to set up their Back Home meetings with
    their legislators, here is a quick reminder of how to initiate that
    meetings

    1. Log onto the IEA website. Under the
    Legislative Tab click on Contact Your Legislator http://www.ieanea.org/legislative/contact-your-legislators/).
    2. Go to the Elected Officials tab, if you know your legislator, go to
    member search and there you will find there contact information including
    phone numbers to call them and schedule a meeting.
    3. If you do not know who your legislator is, go to My Representatives and
    enter your zip code. There you will find their contact information to
    schedule a meeting

    We encourage you to invite your colleagues, Region Chair, Uniserv
    Director and GPA. You can contact them directly, if you have their
    contact information, or call your region office and ask that they contact
    you. Additionally, you can talk to your building representative if you
    don’t know your local leaders.

    Jim Reed, Director of Government Relations

  4. glen brown says:

    Re: Grassroots Political Activists: We need more than just names, cities and regions. How about contact information? Email addresses?

  5. Jerry Mulvihill says:

    I’ve been doing this for many years. What I need are the resources to be able to contact other IEA members in my legislative district so that we can work together instead of lobbying individually. Also, the point of Lobby Days was to make a statement of organization strength, right? Would Wisconsin have stayed away from the state capitol if the building was under renovation? I think not.

    In the 35th, we are about to elect a new state rep. Any IEA members who line in the 35th District out there who want to lobby the new rep with me? Contact me at jmulvihill@mac.com.

    • Cinda Klickna says:

      Jerry:

      I’ve been lobbying lawmakers for more than 30 years, so I certainly agree with you that individual lobbying is not nearly as effective as group lobbying.

      After the Board discussed Lobby Day at SLA, the IPACE Committee (comprised of elected members of the IEA Board of Directors) decided to change the member lobbying strategy in 2012. This was based on several factors. One was the need to increase the number of members who lobby and to increase the number of legislator contacts. Having back home efforts seemed to be worth trying. Also, was the fact that the current Statehouse construction project will make it very difficult to have a successful Lobby Day this year.

      The Board and the other IPACE Committee members received comments from members who said that Springfield Lobby Days seemed to be declining in effectiveness.

      They felt, as did the IPACE Committee members, that a new approach was worth considering. That is why the decision to promote “Back Home Lobby Days (home district lobbying) was made.

      One great advantage of the in-district strategy is that IEA members, since they are close to home, have the opportunity to contact their legislators, in small groups, several times during the session, rather than just one contact on one day. Someone once invited me to do that and I hope you and others will invite more members to accompany you so that we can build our member engagement in political action.

      I urge every IEA member who wants to protect pensions and to fight for better teaching and learning conditions to contact their region’s Grassroots Political Activist (GPA). The GPAs are listed by IEA Region here: http://bit.ly/xlnT5H

      Start the ball rolling: Log onto the IEA website. Under the
      Legislative Tab click on Contact Your Legislator http://www.ieanea.org/legislative/contact-your-legislators/).

      Then, go to the Elected Officials tab. If you know your legislator, go to
      member search and there you will find there contact information including
      phone numbers to call them and schedule a meeting.

      If you do not know who your legislator is, go to My Representatives and
      enter your zip code. There you will find their contact information to
      schedule a meeting

      More information on in-district lobbying is on the IEA website (http://www.ieanea.org)

      Our best chance for success is if we all work as a team. Good luck with your in-district lobbying effort.

    • Sheila Stull says:

      Hi Jerry,

      I have contacted Bill Cunningham in the past (current Rep for 35th district) and he has always been very supportive of teachers. I recently attended a forum with all 3 candidates and Frances Hurley is the only one endorsed by the IEA, IFT, and Chicago Teachers Union.
      I would be happy to lobby the new state rep with you. I too, believe there is strength in numbers.