Topic outline

  • Introduction: Preparing for Legislative Meetings






    A Federal Political Coordinator's most valuable contribution to NAR is the relationship they develop with their Member of Congress. In addition to regular contact with the assigned Member of Congress, there are several specific tasks that are required to fulfill the role of FPC. This course is designed to assist you in one of the most important--attending and leading a meeting with a member of Congress or staff person. You'll have an opportunity to review the basics of advocacy (should you need a refresher). You'll also gain the skills you need to prepare and coordinate other attendees before coming to Washington, DC!

    The course is divided into six sections, specifically:

    1. The political environment
    2. The four keys to effective advocacy & making the ask
    3. Knowing your audience
    4. Developing your message
    5. Following up
    6. Leading others


    Whether you've been to D.C. dozens of times, or are new to the process, you might consider glancing through the basic advocacy concepts outlined in topics two through five. It never hurts to brush up your skills!







    Your Course Leader

    Stephanie Vance is a 25-year "veteran" of Washington, DC. She's worked as a Congressional Chief of Staff, Lobbyist and Grassroots Consultant. Here she shares insights on the importance of citizen advocacy.                
    • The Political Climate


      NAR & GOP Priorities


       NAR Priorities for the 115th Congress

      Your team at NAR's national office will be working on a range of issues, including regulatory reform, tax reform, National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization, housing finance reform (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and other housing and real estate issues that arise. Expect to get more information on these issues as they move through the process--and to potentially be engaged!

       

      GOP Priorities for the 115th Congress 

      The GOP leadership has identified several priorities for 2017.  These are not listed in any particular order, but rather are intended to provide a snap-shot of what issues are going to be looked at early in the new Congress.  While the media has made much of the “the First 100 Days” agenda of the incoming Administration, Congress is going to evaluate progress throughout 2017.  In order to use Budget Reconciliation both chambers must pass the same Budget.  It is the leadership’s intention to pass both an FY17 Budget and an FY18 Budget so that they can use Budget Reconciliation twice, one time to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the second for Tax Reform.  Regulatory reform is expected to be high on the list of Congressional action.  This is a reaction to the large number of executive orders issued in the Obama Administration. Congress will flex its muscles as a co-equal branch of government.  Job Creation it is expected that the GOP will claim most recent job creation was the result of regulatory compliance and not added demand for workers.  Immigration GOP will push for border security measures including the Southern Border Wall.  Additionally, the US Senate will have more than 1200 nominations to process, potentially slowing down legislative activity.



      To stay up to speed on these issues, be sure to visit the REALTOR Action Center on an ongoing basis. It's the best place to stay informed.






      • What You Want: Making the Ask

        Armed with an overview of NAR priorities, let's plunge into the keys to advocacy. As advocates from the REALTOR community, these strategies will look very familiar. You'll be applying your sales skills to the policy making process.

        Four Keys Overview

        There are four keys to effective advocacy. Start here for the overview. Then let's look at each one!

        People in the sales world know that the number one reason you don't make a sale is because you didn't ask for it. In DC, you're selling an idea, and the number one reason elected officials don't get on board is because people don't ask.

             
      • Who You're Talking To: Understanding Your Audience

        As FPCs, you're likely already well-acquainted with your legislators. Now we'll talk about how to use that information to create winning messages. Three key things you'll need to keep in mind are:

        1. Their Committee Assignments
        2. Their Policy Interests
        3. Their Political Views


        Review the following videos and readings for more information on where to gather that information. In the next section we'll talk about using that information to develop a winning message




        ;
        ABOUT LEGISLATORS


        To be most effective, you'll want to know a little something about the people you're talking to. In this section, you'll learn about understanding your legislator, and their all important staff.

        ABOUT STAFF


        Note that all your research into the legislator's policy and political interests apply to the staff as well. They're there to represent their boss, so what's of interest to the boss will be of interest to them as well.
      • How to Talk to Them - Developing Your Story


        Your job is to tie the strange things that happen in Washington, DC back to the district, and you do that through effective stories. Use the following materials to create yours!
        Now tie all of that into a strong message with the message formula.


      • Being an Advocacy Leader



        Finding and Recruiting Grassroots Advocates


        Your team in the Washington office will always assist you in finding other advocacy-minded individuals in the community. One of your most important jobs is to get those advocates engaged. In short,  you’re likely surrounded by advocates – you just need to ask for their help! In this section you'll find valuable resources on how to do so, including:

        • A three page section from the FPC Manual on building a successful FPC team: This covers the basics of gathering others in your community who can help deliver the message
        • An “Advocate Intake Form” you can use to collect useful information about your colleagues and apply that to your work in creating an effective local advocacy effort




        Scheduling and Leading a Congressional Meeting

        As someone leading others in your delegation for your meetings in May, you’ll need to be sure you're prepared to make the meetings as effective as possible. The "Checklist for DC" walks you through each step of the process. And if you haven't scheduled meetings before, check out this short video.


                                                                  




        Things NOT to Do
        We've talked a lot about what you can do--let's talk a little about the kinds of comments you might want to stay away from. Each of these is based on a real-live experience. So don't be "that" person.
                                            




      • How to Follow Up - Building Relationships

                        
        Meeting with legislators or staff people just one or two times per year won't generate the results you want. This is why FPCs have been tasked with the responsibility of contacting legislators at least four times per year. Those long term relationships are essential to winning your policy issue


        Attending Townhalls is a great way to spend a few minutes chatting with your legislator and their key district staff

        If you ever have any questions, be sure to download the REALTOR Party Resource Guide