Legislator Resource Center

GOING TO CAPITOL HILL?

 

Attending meetings on Capitol Hill? Here are some quick resources to enhance your experience.

 

 

                Lunch Options on Capitol Hill

             

                Getting around the House and Senate office buildings

 

 

How to make an impact with Congressional offices - Q&A with Veteran Senate Staffer

 

how to conduct more effective meetings - Q&A with former chief of staff lea sulkala

 

Preparing for Your Capitol Hill Fly-In Meetings

 

 

 

 

CONSIDER HOSTING A TOUR OF YOUR FACILITIES FOR LEGISLATORS

 

Your facility provides a great opportunity to directly connect with legislators and their staff on your home turf. You'll get an attentive audience without the distractions that can occur during a meeting in their Capitol Hill office. Plus, it gives them a chance to see how your operations provide impact to the community. There’s no substitute for a live event, with real-time back and forth between your team and a legislator/staff. Remember, if you’re not at the table, you might be on the menu. 

 

OR EVEN HOSTING A VIRTUAL TOUR

 

 

COVID a factor?  COVID doesn't have to sideline your legislator outreach. It's even a chance to show them your operations without the logistical challenges of an in-person event. 

 

This is a prime opportunity to host a legislator and Congressional office staff VIRTUALLY, if you can't have them at your site to highlight your operations and industry.  After all, it’s vital that legislators understand your opinions on issues and legislation.  The recent challenges presents shouldn’t scuttle your outreach, even under social distancing guidelines. Consider hosting a virtual tour

 

Planning tips:

  • Start planning 3-4 weeks in advance
    • Divide responsibilities - determine who will be the on-camera ‘host’, who else will be on camera/speaking, who will write down legislator’s questions, who will be the lead on technical issues..
    • What’s your platform?  Microsoft Teams is preferred in the U.S. House, the Senate prefers WebEx…Zoom is also an option
    • Reach out to the legislator’s staff with as-specific information as possible.  Be sure to emphasize that this is a virtual site visit, not a webinar
  • Plan for a 30-45 minute event
  • Ensure you have a reliable signal
  • Map out a route, in advance, of what you want to highlight from your facility
  • Have an ‘ask’, usually 2-3 key messages to relay.  WCI can help with this.  Know the status of that years’ appropriations.  What issues are you targeting? Is there specific legislation afoot?
  • Acquire permission - in advance -  from the legislator’s office to record the event
  • Do a full dress rehearsal within a week of the event….and test everything

Day-of tips:

  • Have your device at eye level – no one wants to see the inside of your nose
  • Look into the camera (make eye contact)
  • Invest in an after-market microphone with wind screen
  • Consider supplemental lighting to illuminate the host
  • Post the session on your social media feeds
  • Use a dedicated internet connection and close all apps and programs on the device
  • Take a ‘selfie’ of the legislator during the event (get approval first)
  • Have a backup plan in place -

Follow-up:

  • Be sure to send a thank-you email (or call) to the lead staff member
  • Provide any follow-through that was promised (remember the person who was in charge of taking notes?) during the event
  • Post any photos or video (that were approved by the legislator’s office) on your website, in your newsletter and internal communications – let your employees know the importance of reaching out to legislators
    • Encourage them to “like”, retweet or otherwise share on their own social media feeds, with the legislator tagged so it gets back to their office
  • Share that content with any associations (like WCI) to which you’re a member        

 

 

 

Have ideas? Share here!

 

 

 

Education, Advocacy, and Lobbying - What's the Difference?

 

Advocacy or Education is public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. Lobbying is seeking to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue or a specific ask such as supporting a specific piece of legislation.​

 

Advocacy happens in many different ways, but at its core it’s about raising awareness, educating others around the issues and policies impacting river transportation, and forming and maintaining relationships with policymakers who can make an impact.

 

There are many examples of this that do not cross over into lobbying. Advocacy can include such activities as:

  • Educating and informing lawmakers (site visits, in-district meetings with legislators) 
  • Making your voice(s) heard about why waterways transportation is important (on legislators' social media feeds)
  • Helping policymakers find solutions to problems
  • Providing critical information of introduced legislation
  • Urging the public to contact policy makers to advocate for adoption or rejection of legislation

On the other end of the spectrum are lobbying activities. Key lobbying activities include activities in direct support or opposition to a specific piece of proposed legislation. Most of WCI staff are registered lobbyists, and your company or association probably has at least one registered lobbyist (federal and/or state) on staff. The IRS has strict rules regarding the percentage of a nonprofit’s budget that can go toward lobbying activities. 

 

 

FOLLOW WCI's "FIVE ON THE FIVE" INTERVIEWS
 

Five on the Five: June 5, 2024, Rep. Dale Strong (R, AL-05)

 

Five on the Five: May 5, 2024, Spencer Murphy, Chair, Inland Waterways Users Board, and General Counsel and Vice President - Risk Management, Canal Barge Company

 

Five on the Five: April 5, 2024, Ryan Hambleton, Staff Director for T&I Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment

 

Five on the Five: March 5, 2024, Rep. Rick Crawford (R, AR-01)

 

 

Five on the Five: February 5, 2024, John Kane (Director, Infrastructure,Senate committee EPW) 

 

Five on the Five: January 2024, Dustin Davidson (WCI)

 

Five on the Five: December 2023, Rep. Eric Sorensen (D, IL-17)

 

Five on the Five: November 2023, Rep. Tracey Mann (R, KS-01)

 

Five on the Five: October 2023, Cherrie Felder (Chair, WCI) 

 

five on the five: september 2023, Tom Heinold (USACE - Rock Island District)

 

Five on the Five: August 2023, Eddie Belk (USACE)

 

Five on the Five: July 2023. Jen Armstrong

 

five on the five: May 2023, Rep. nikki budzinski (D, il-13)

 

Five on the Five: April 2023, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) 

 

Five on the Five: March 2023, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R, IA-01) 

 

Five on the Five: February 2023, Rep. Mark Alford (R, MO-04) 

 

Five on the Five: December 2022, Rep. Garret Graves (R, LA-06)

 

FIVE ON THE FIVE: NOVEMBER 2022, REP. CHERI BUSTOS (D, IL-17)

 

Five on the Five: October 2022, Rep. Bob Gibbs (R, OH-07)