Grassroots main goal is to GET THE WORD OUT! No matter what the word is. Whether it is working for a specific candidate, issue or even local concerns however big or small, the messages needs to be heard - The more important the message, the stronger and more organized the voice needs to be.
In fact, knowing what's really important to you and/or your group, what your needs are, what's happening in your local area or across the state, is what really counts on Capitol Hill. Despite the cynicism surrounding politicians and politics – especially in an election year — most elected officials at any level go to work every day trying to make a difference for his/her district or state and the nation.
But how do elected officials know what anyone wants or what is best for their local community? They depend on their constituents (the voters in their state or district) to let them know how proposed policy affects their local community. Knowing and being responsive to the needs and concerns of the voters is, in fact, top priority; it is what got them elected and will help get them re-elected.
In some instances legislators making policy decisions are not fully experienced in certain areas. Legislators, therefore, rely heavily on the expressed views of their constituents and information provided by experts – such as you. It may surprise you to know that they not only rely heavily on what the voters think about an issue; in many cases they reach out to constituents who have expertise or knowledge in particular area and ask them for their help – BECOME THEIR EXPERT!!! Through constituent letters, phone calls, face-to-face meetings, position papers, newsletters and other forms of communication, legislators learn what's important to the “people back home.” As the legendary Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill often said, “all politics is local.”
You want elected officials to know they can reach out to you and your group when they need some assistance with a particular piece of legislation or even in the development of a proposed new policy initiative. Elected officials and their staff count on your letters and phone calls, your direct involvement, to help them know if they are "on the right track."
However, no matter how involved you are as an individual, greater influence and impact is gained when large numbers of constituents speak with “one voice.” It is only possible through organized grassroots activities. People at the grassroots are anxious to do something. They are especially anxious to do something MEANINGFUL — at least to them. They are politically-minded people who — when they find a cause worthy of their time, energy, and means — are willing to let go of inhibitions, fears, and preconceptions and jump into the cause with unusual passion. This is the power of Grassroots!
Launches Site for
By Jim T. Ryan
Central Penn Business Journal
Read the Article Now
Harrisburg-based lobbyists Fred McKillop, left, and son Randy of McKillop & Associates have launched Grassroots Lobbying, an online tool to assist businesses and other organizations with legislative advocacy training and approach. Photo/Amy Spangler