State Chapters Strengthening Workshop ITS America/World Congress Orlando 2011 Advocacy: Why, What, How?
Experiences of: • ITS California • ITS Georgia • ITS Maryland
Membership Value • Access to Information • Networking • Sponsorship Opportunities • Priority consideration for presentations at the Annual Meeting and workshops • Influence • Resources Join today! www.itscalifornia.org
Well, we try……. • 2008: Annual Meeting, Sacramento • Q&A Session with State Assemblymember • 2009: Annual Meeting Anaheim • Keynote address by State Senator Bob Huff • 2010/2011: Sacramento State Capitol • Attempts to organize a “Legislative Event” • 2011: Annual Meeting, Long Beach • Associated ITS Hearing of State Transportation Committee
Lessons Learned • The Representative’s Q&A Session: • “Tell me what’s in it for me.” • “How is this going to get me votes” • “Why should I be interested in this?” • “Are any of my constituents going to care about this?” • “Don’t take up a lot of my time explaining things.”
Advice on proposed Legislative Event: Staffer (Transportation Committee Staffer) • Don’t do it • But if you do: • Focus on demonstrations • Define clear benefits within 30 seconds • Don’t have a keynote speaker • Stay within 2 blocks of the Capitol • Serve free food
Advice on proposed Legislative Event: Staffer • You are better off focusing on MPOs • Help them identify State hurdles • Front MPOs in discussions with individual State representatives on recommendations to eliminate hurdles • Ride the coat tails of relevant (GHG) legislation to change the perception that “the time for ITS has yet to come”
Advice on proposed Legislative Event: Assemblymember (Transportation Committee Member) • He, and all representatives, are very busy when in Sacramento • It is best to access them when at their home offices. • He did say that he is a big advocate of pursuing a VMT tax!
Other advice…. • Feedback from recent UCLA Symposium on Transportation, Land Use and the Environment • The only real trusted voice in Sacramento is of the health care profession; • CA Dept. of Public Health in Sacramento has a “Safe & Active Communities Branch” • “Making our Sustainable Communities Livable” may be a theme to communicate the need for ITS in urban corridors, to deliver the co-benefits of improved air quality. • Look for opportunities to team with other organizations to “co-sponsor” (AAA)to show that ITS has broader, multimodal support?
Conclusions • Work locally……. take advantage of Chapter events to engage the local representative • Partner with other organizations: • Shows broader support for ITS • Demonstrates the impact of ITS benefits to other community groups • Articulate benefits of ITS clearly…translate them to the representatives’ constituents • Leverage other ITS CA resources
Current Activities • ITS Hearing • Annual Meeting to be held in District of the Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee • The Chair will be a Keynote speaker • A 3-hour ITS Hearing will be held in association with, and a day after, the Conference, November 16 • TEAM California • Advocating, promoting the Connected Vehicle • Task forces for specific (technical) topics
ITS Virginia comments to ITS CA • We hold our event each year at “crossover.” • In Virginia the legislature meets typically in January and February only. • Typically the House and Senate will work independently on legislation and then send the bills to each other at crossover. • During the time when bills are crossing over we will meet at a building very convenient to them in a lobby, legislators will “walk through” • We hold the event in the dinner time and serve heavy appetizers and offer an open bar • We get many legislators passing through, we offer sponsorships and vendor tables on first come first serve, we try to make this a financial neutral event. • Over the years it has been advocacy and education – no lobby. - Mike Harris
ITS Georgia • ITS GA has not supported any particular legislation or candidate for office • Has always tried to educate its members and representatives. • Has done this by providing informed speakers at its monthly luncheon meetings and through its participation in the Georgia Engineering Alliance (GEA). • The GEA is much more politically focused and ITS GA gets most of its information that is passed on to its member organizations from that source.