Lecture 5 Communicating with Policymakers. Andy Schneider, J.D. Former Chief Health Counsel House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Why Should You Interact with Federal Policymakers. To establish a working relationship in which the Member or staffer seeks your advice
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Andy Schneider, J.D.
Former Chief Health Counsel
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Congress (Legislative Branch)
Capitol Hill visits
District Office visits
Department of HHS (Executive Branch)
Government Commissions (MedPAC, MACPAC, Long-Term Care Commission)
Typically initiated by you or an organization you work with
Specified appointment (30 minutes)
More likely with staff than Member
Small groups (2-3) can work well
Large groups tend not to be effective
Generally not yourself unless it is a personal story
Your professional organization?
A community-based organization?
A coalition of groups?
Get explicit authorization
Jurisdictional – How does your issue relate to the Member’s State, District and committees?
Personal – Whatis the Member’s or staffer’s understanding of or commitment to your issue?
Political – When is the Member’s next election? What is his/her voting record on your issue?
Experience – How much legislative experience does the Member/staffer have?
Government is a formal place
Business suits are the norm
The pace is brisk
Members and staff will act casual about time but they are not
Be on time but not too early
Stay on time (even though Members and staff likely will not)
Briefly introduce yourself, what your organization does, and whom it serves
Acknowledge anything constructive the Member/staffer has done on your issue
To the degree possible, make a connection between your issue and how it affects the Member’s State or District
You’ve got somewhere between 30 seconds and 3 minutes to introduce yourself, explain your issue, and make your ask
Use one-pager to organize your presentation
Avoid jargon/technical terms
Do a dry run before the visit
If it’s a small group visit, choreograph the presentations in advance
A brief synopsis of your issue, your solution and your ask
Simply phrased bullet points with lots of white space on paper
Include pointed examples that make it relevant for the particular Member
Include contact information or card
A highly effective way to build a bond with a Member or staffer around your issue
Focus on a person or a family and include a few special details to help make it real to the Member or staffer
Bonus points if the affected party is from Member’s State or District
Don’t just describe your issue, ask for specific help in resolving it
Members like to help and want to say yes - tell them what you want them to do
Your “ask” should be reasonable in relation to the Member/staffer’s power and jurisdiction
Figure out who is doing what next
Make it clear how you think you can help move your issue forward
Plan for the next interaction
A business card
Possibly a research summary