For Immediate Release
Date: Apr 15th, 2013
Contact: By John T. McCarthy, III, Managing Partner and Libby Milligan, Director of Client Service, McCarthy Strategic Solutions
Participate in Your KDPAC! Contribute and Deliver
It has been an honor to represent the Kentucky Dental Association (KDA) for nearly two years. We value the opportunity to work with KDA staff and its’ members.
Our bi-partisan team at McCarthy Strategic Solutions (MSS) has over 80 years of government relations experience ranging from a former Governor’s Chief of Staff, Special Assistant to the Governor for Personnel, and other top political aides under Democrat and Republican administrations. We understand the importance of having support from both sides of the aisle and we pride ourselves on the fact that we have access to the areas our client's need.
Lobbying isn’t just about asking for a vote – it’s about creating an environment where the legislator or elected official is educated with the facts, the message is consistent and the constituency is active. To use a sports analogy, think of it as a contact sport that requires everyone on the team to participate, engage and to utilize talent on all fronts. This is how our firm has built its’ reputation for results. The strategy is three-fold: 1.) Grassroots network: Build strong relationships with your legislator. 2.) Political Process: Participate through the PAC. 3.) Make the ask clear, concise and accurate.
To build an effective grassroots network is a team effort that requires member participation. It is as simple as “building a personal relationship”. However, relationships are built on trust, time and effort. Elected officials are not experts on all subject matter. In many cases they rely on others to provide them with insight and facts. As a member of the Kentucky Dental Association, become a “trusted expert” and “build the personal relationship” with your elected officials. By taking the time to meet face to face with an elected official, they will remember YOU and the KDA. Set up a meeting during the interim, outside of the legislative session. Legislators are home in their districts during the summer. Knowing the demands of your schedules, we recommend the following steps:
1.) Invite the elected official for a tour of your practice. Perhaps during your lunch break, before your first appointment or at the end of the day, pending the legislator’s schedule.
2.) Provide them with clear, accurate and simple facts about your profession. Explain why YOU entered the dental profession, provide specific information about the area they represent relating to your profession. For example: oral health statistics in your county, Medicaid patients, patient demographics, etc…In many cases, legislators are not aware of district specific information.
3.) Make sure to give the legislator your personal email address and cell phone number. More importantly, ask for their phone number. Let them know if they have any questions regarding your profession and that you are available to provide information.
4.) Follow up with a thank you note and arrange another meeting. Build the relationship for the long term.
5.) Be sure to share your meeting information with KDA staff. This way, once the legislative session approaches, they can utilize the relationship.
The cornerstone of an effective grassroots program begins with a strong Political Action Committee (PAC). The KDPAC has a long record of political giving and recognizes that political contributions are an important tool in building relationships with elected officials. When the KDPAC makes a contribution to a candidate it sends a collective message that advocates legislation and issues favorable to the dental profession and your livelihood.
All politics are all local. Another facet of building a relationship is support. Think in these terms -- would you support someone who does not support your business or someone who does not support your profession? Of course not! Political participation by supporting candidates does have an impact and is another tool in building the personal relationship. As an opportunity to open up doors of communication on issues and develop personal relationships outside of the annual legislative session, we suggest the following:
1) Participate: 100% KDPAC participation builds the PAC account.
2) Engage: Contact the KDPAC and let them know you would like to deliver a PAC check.
3) Set up a meeting with a legislator or ask the PAC if there is an upcoming event where you can deliver the check. Face-to-face is always better that by mail; it makes the relationship personal.
4) Host or be a co-host for a fundraiser for your legislator.
5) Maintain your PAC Membership annually. Consider monthly contributions or an annual contribution.
Step up to the Challenge!
Over the next year, challenge yourself to participate and engage in the political process. If you do it, others will follow!
1.) Arrange a face-to-face meeting with your legislator at your practice this summer. Begin to build the relationship.
2.) Participate in the KDPAC. Contribute and deliver.
3.) Invite legislators to Regional Society Meetings. This provides them the opportunity to meet members and constituents.
4.) Continue to keep KDA staff apprised of your local efforts. Communication is key to any relationship.
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