2010 MEA Lobby Day
Due to the effectiveness of MEA members, leaders and field staff playing a major, hands-on role in the lobbying process this past year, the Government Affairs staff, in cooperation with the Field Services Division, have decided to expand MEA Lobby Day from a one-day event in Lansing into multiple “back home” lobby days. These important events will be scheduled throughout the year. Moving to this multiple “back home” lobby day format will also allow us to make the most effective use of our MEA budgeted dollars, while engaging more MEA members in the political and legislative process on a year-round basis.
This strategic change means that the MEA Lobby Day in Lansing scheduled for Feb. 17, 2010 will not be held.
The basis for this decision is that legislative term limits have resulted in elected officials with little knowledge of education policy and funding. Today, an elected official’s primary concern is his or her next job – not the future of public education. Relationships with these term-limited folks seem to end as soon as they start because of their short-lived experience in the Legislature. If legislators are only seeing MEA members once a year at MEA Lobby Day, the chances of those discussions significantly impacting their policy positions are slim.
We learned last year while dealing with very difficult issues in the Legislature that we must engage with our elected officials “back home” as well as in Lansing. Through ongoing grassroots mobilization of members, it is possible to educate and persuade officials to vote in support of our issues.
Our Field Services Division and Government Affairs will continue to plan for Lansing-based lobby teams as legislative action demands, much like we did last year. Lobby teams will be needed when dealing with the Dillon Health Care Plan and lobbying for increased revenues for the State School Aid budget.
We are still looking at the various ways in which these “back home” lobby days might take shape. Your ideas and input are important to making these new events successful. Please send any suggestions to your Zone Director.
As we continually update our lobbying efforts to meet Lansing’s political environment, local grassroots involvement by MEA members will be critical. Our major goal is clear: Increase member, leader, board and staff participation in lobbying activities. We look forward to partnering with you to reach that goal.
Updated: January 26, 2010 1:52 PM