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Lobbying. Lauren Zajac, MD, MPH Board Member, PSR Pediatric Environmental Health Fellow, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Presentation goals. LEGISLATOR. BILL. LOBBY VISIT. Why Lobby?. Influence specific legislation. Provide in-depth information on your issue.

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Presentation Transcript

Lauren Zajac, MD, MPH

Board Member, PSR

Pediatric Environmental Health Fellow, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

presentation goals
Presentation goals




why lobby
Why Lobby?

Influence specific legislation.

Provide in-depth information on your issue.

Convey the views of many constituents.

Learn about what is happening with your issue in this Congress.

Build a relationship with your legislator.

example climate change energy
Example: Climate Change/Energy
  • Climate Change has serious environmental and human health impacts.
  • Addressing climate change includes:
    • Renewable energy
    • Reduce energy use, improve efficiency
    • Mitigation
    • Other Prevention
example energy efficiency
Example: Energy Efficiency

Last week, an energy efficiency bill passed the House of Representatives.

A similar bill is in the Senate right now, in the Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

How are we going to get our Senators to support this important bill?

what are the most effective means of influencing legislators
What are the most effective means of influencing legislators?

Congressional staffers say:

  • Visits from constituents
    • Citizen lobbyists are more effective than professional lobbyists.
  • Phone calls
  • Individualized emails or letters
  • Computerized letters, petitions
  • It is not just what you know,

but who you know that counts.

what you need to know first
What you need to know first…
  • Probably will meet with a staffer
  • Call or email the legislative aide who works on your issue
  • Schedule 2 weeks ahead
  • Federal: Members are generally in DC Tue-Thu
  • Meetings are generally 30 minutes
what do you need to do to get ready
What do you need to do to get ready?

Better Know a Congressperson

Better Know a District

Build your team

Formulate a focused ‘ask’

Be well informed about your subject

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand


better know a legislator govtrack
Better Know a Legislator: Govtrack



activity 1
Activity #1
  • Go to www.govtrack.us
    • Look up your representative and 2 senators
    • Pick out one legislator and review some basic information like committees, PACs, bills, voting
    • Click on the links to OpenSecrets and VoteSmart
    • Think about how they would vote on energy efficiency or climate change bills…
  • Go to scorecard.lcv.org
    • Review the report card for your representatives
    • Think about how they would vote on energy efficiency or climate change bills…
better know a legislator fcnl
Better Know a Legislator: FCNL


Friends Committee on

National Legislation

better know a legislator fcnl1
Better Know a Legislator: FCNL


Staff tab

Key votes

Bills sponsored

better know a bill
Better Know a Bill

Political context of your bill

    • Where is the bill?
      • Thomas.gov
    • When is the vote?
    • Who is supporting it and why?

Use websites of other groups working on the issue or call them.

  • League of Conservation Voters
  • PSR, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Read about the opposition (ex: Heritage Foundation)


activity 2
Activity #2
  • Go to thomas.gov
    • Look up the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014, which passed the House last week. It is H.R. 2126.
    • Look up the recently re-introduced Senate bill, which contains similar provisions to the House bill. It is S. 2074.
      • Sometimes, there is a delay getting full text of bill posted to this database. In that case, I go back to google and type the bill # and sponsor name to find the text.
better know a bill part 2
Better Know a Bill, Part 2
  • Do your homework!
    • Which organizations support this bill? Why?
      • PSR, Energy Efficiency advocates, Real Estate, Businesses, etc
    • Which organizations oppose this bill? Why?
      • Better Know your Opponents – prepare to respond to opposition.
      • Heritage Foundation
prepare for the meeting
Prepare for the meeting
  • Review congressional websites-especially the sponsors
  • Know your legislator’s voting record on this issue
developing your a team
Developing your “A-Team”


People member listens to

People impacted by the issue


Personal connection

Key constituencies

Speak for a larger group within the district

3 types of ask s
3 Types of “Ask’s”

1 – Co-sponsor or support a bill/resolution

2 – Sign onto a letter

3 – Speak to an issue (on floor, in committee, at an event, op-ed)


4 – Develop a relationship with a staffer

scheduling your meeting
Scheduling your meeting

Call the district office

Email a visit request-to correct legislative aide

Include names of your team members, issue topic and date range

scheduling request
Scheduling Request

You want to meet in Washington DC with the Legislative Aide of Senator Rand Paul who works on environmental issues.

Prepare a scheduling request to discuss S.2074 - A bill to promote energy savings in residential buildings and industry.

subject request for a meeting on s 2074 rachel bovard@paul senate gov
Subject: Request for a Meeting on S. 2074 [email protected]

Dear Ms. Bovard:

I am a constituent of Senator Rand Paul and wish to meet with you in about two weeks, when I will be in Washington DC from April 1st through April 15th. I would like to discuss Senate bill S. 2074.

I am representing student PSR and the American Medical Student Association chapters from the University of Kentucky. I will be joined by Barb Gottlieb of PSR and Dr. Stephen Colbert of the Better Know a Environmental Disaster Association.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.  I look forward to speaking with you.


Your name, phone number, email and address

organize your meeting
Organize your Meeting

Assign roles-choose a leader

What questions to ask the staff?

Organize your information

Determine who makes the ask

Assign a note-taker

Create a one page sheet outlining your position-offer at the end of the meeting


at the meeting
At the Meeting

Arrive early


Start out positive, make a connection

Find out how much your staffer is familiar with the issue or their position on your request

Treat them with respect (whether you agree with them or not), follow structure, and say “thank you”

activity plan a lobby visit
Activity: Plan a lobby visit

S.2074 - A bill to promote energy savings in residential buildings and industry.

s 2074
S. 2074
  • Bipartisan co-sponsors
  • Supported by environmentalists, business, real estate, energy efficiency advocates, etc
  • Estimated benefits
    • 190,000 jobs by 2030
    • Cutting CO2 by equivalent of 22 million cars off the road
  • Key Provisions:
    • Tenant Star
    • Efficiency targets, benchmarking
    • More training and investment in green jobs, technologies
    • Reduce energy waste in federal buildings/agencies
    • Streamline government programs for energy efficiency
activity plan a lobby visit for s 2074
Activity: Plan a lobby visit for S. 2074
  • Better know your legislator – are they a co-sponsor? Likely supporter? Likely opponent?
    • What is their voting record?
    • What can you thank them for? (common ground)
  • Better know your bill/issue
    • Arguments for your position
    • More difficult—what are the arguments against your position, and how to respond?
  • Build your A team –who are you going to invite?
  • Formulate your ask—cosponsor? Support? Provide information for incremental change?
after the meeting
After the Meeting
  • Leave a business card and/or your information (max 1 page)
  • Copy of sign-on letter if appropriate
  • Follow up with a thank you email (staffer will then save you as a contact)
  • “Circle back” the next week or so with a phone call to follow up on action ask
  • Always leave with some sign of support
    • “We want to be a resource for you”
“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”

-Thomas Jefferson