Texas State Legislature

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel

Travis County has 6 state House seats and 4 state Senate seats.

ChamberDistrict NumberRepresentative (click on each name)
House46Rep. Sheryl Cole
House47 Rep. Vikki Goodwin
House48Rep. Donna Howard
House50Rep. James Talarico
House51Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
House136Rep. John Bucy III
Senate 14Senator Sarah Eckhardt
Senate 21Senator Judith Zaffirini
Senate 24Senator Pete Flores
Senate 25Senator Donna Campbell
Click here to look at current bill filings, bill status, and analysis.

8 Steps to Effective Advocacy

  1. Define Your Goals
  • What needs changing?
  • Long-term/short-term?
  • What do we want to ask for? Does it require a change to:
    • Legislation
    • Policy
    •  Regulation
    • Programs
    • Funding
  1. Know Your Audience
  • Multi-layered: policymakers, media, key constituencies, public
  • Different strategies for each target – research
  • Provincial and Territorial governments, health authorities, and the general public
  1. Craft Your Message
  • Be clear on what you are asking
  • Keep it simple and focused
  • Use positive language
  • Tailor message to the audience – research
  • Appeal to the audience’s self-interest
  • Acknowledge environment/context- be pragmatic
  • Make the case
  • Look at the problem, the solution(s) and the benefit(s)
  • Be consistent
  • Distribute clear concise position statements
  • Use evidence – facts carry more weight than anecdotal evidence
  • Economic arguments are important
  1. Identify the Messenger
  • The target audience will determine the messenger
    • For example, approach elected members as constituents
  • Champions will also become messengers
  • Media is best handled by a designated person(s)
  1. Identify Delivery Methods
  • Advocacy is relationship building
  • Tactics change by the target audience
  • Tactics to reach the general public
    • Ads
    • Media stories
    • Editorials
    • Awareness campaigns
    • Local events
  • Tactics to reach media
    • Choose the right communication tool
    • Press releases, Op-Ed, press conferences, letters
    • Use positive language
    • Make sure sources are credible
    • Make sure information is timely
    • Localize the issue
    • Accent human interest angle
    • Demonstrate support
  • Tactics to reach the political level of government
    • Meetings with elected officials – follow up
    • Letter-writing campaigns then follow up in person
    • Distribute background documentation proving a case
    • Petitions
    • Appear before Caucus
    • Appear before a Parliamentary Committee
  • Tactics to reach the departmental level of government
    • Meet with departmental employees responsible for the issue
    • Meet with other government employees that may have an interest in the issue
    • Be prepared with discussion information and background info that they can use to make the case within the government
  1. Identify Resources and Gaps
  • Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis
  • Build on existing resources and opportunities
    • Alliances, relationships, information, political intelligence, the capacity of staff, opportunities
  • Develop capacities that are lacking
    • Research, media, outreach
  1. Plan Next Steps
  • Identify achievable goals that set the stage for larger work
  • Include in the advocacy strategy/plan
    • Priority area
    • Action
    • Target
    • Timelines
    • Partners
    • Resources
    • Critical path or Next Steps
  • Set out clear steps – including timelines
  • Be clear on who needs to do what and when
  • Communicate the plan with partners
  • Be flexible
  • Keep focused on the long-term goal
  1. Evaluate Effectiveness
  • Regularly revisit each of the steps to make sure the strategy is effective
  • Discard any tactics which are not working and build on those that do
  • Re-evaluate as new opportunities and challenges emerge
  • Communicate changes internally
Key Take-Aways
  • Communications are key!
  • Build a coalition of voices
  • Planning is crucial
  • Positive messaging is important
  • Advocacy is about relationship building

Texas State Legislature

South Austin News | SARC

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