Lobbying, by definition, is the process of influencing public and government policy at all levels: federal, state, and local. It involves the advocacy of an interest that is affected, actually or potentially, by the decisions of government leaders. Individuals and interest groups alike can lobby governments, and governments can lobby each other. The practice of lobbying is considered so essential to the proper functioning of the U.S. government that it is specifically protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "Congress shall make no law... abridging... the right of the people peaceable... to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." [The Free Dictionary]
How do we effectively influence our government when we lobby?
1. Be polite, courteous and introduce every member of the family
a. Children - be ready to shake hands and say hello
b. Parents - remember your legislator may not have many opportunities to interact with homeschool families so you are not just there to talk about one bill...
you are representing all homeschool families
2. Be prepared to discuss key aspects on the Bill in two to three concise sound bites
a. Your time with the legislator will go quickly
b. Leave them with a few key points that they will remember and consider
3. Be ready to explain how the Bill will help families
a. Personal stories and examples are an excellent way to compel action
b. Legislators need to understand the why; we want them to remember your family and your story when they are ready to cast a vote
4. Recognize potential objections to the Bill and be ready to alleviate concerns without being defensive or argumentative
a. Know the potential objections:
i. Does the current legislation really need to be fixed?
ii. Will this legislation hurt struggling schools?
iii. In a time of tight budgets and deficits will this Bill raise costs?
b. Consider positive ways to address potential objections
i. This Bill is a simple but important adjustment to the current law, not a fundamental change
ii. This legislation does not impact statewide education in anyway, instead it
makes things easier and less burdensome for struggling school systems
iii. This legislation will not raise education costs... (remember homeschooling
saves taxpayers money because it is not subsidized by public funds)
5. Be prepared to present some key facts about homeschooling
a. There are over 2.4 million homeschool students in
b. It is a growing trend across all income levels and ethnicities with an estimated growth rate as high as 8%
c. On average homeschool students score 15-30% higher on standardized tests than public school students
d. Homeschool families are not dependent on tax money for education - homeschooling results in estimated cost savings to taxpayers of over $16 Billion
6. Do not be discouraged or disappointed if you end up meeting with a Staff Member
a. It is very common for schedule and meeting changes to result in Legislators having to designate a trusted Staffer to meet with you
b. Remember the Staffer is the eyes and ears of their Legislator - treat them with the
same respect and they convey the message
7. We will be guests in a professional office building conducting the official business
of our state.
a. Noise and activity must be kept to a minimum. Closely supervise young children
to make the most effective presentation possible and to facilitate conversation
with our legislators or the staffers.
b. Out of respect for our officials and to leave a good impression, dress your best.
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)