1. You don’t have to know how to lobby.
Experts and your colleagues will tell you all you need to know Tuesday morning before we head to the Capitol in teams of four. You will not be alone, and you do not have to speak if you are not comfortable.
2. Elected officials want to hear from “real people,” especially those from their districts.
A State Rep or Senator will place more weight on a message that is coming from his or her voters. If the message is shared by a large group of constituents (like our alliance of architects, engineers, and contractors), officials are particularly attuned.
3. It's a free course in leadership.
Forget those classes that cost thousands of dollars and involve ropes or mud! You’ll have the opportunity to immediately apply your legislative knowledge and practice your skills that day. Impress your boss and family when you return with the lessons you learned.
4. It is interesting and fun.
You may not believe this, but architects joined in a common effort can subdue their competitive instincts and enjoy camaraderie. I guarantee you will return with at least one very interesting story to share.
5. If architects do not show up, our elected officials will be listening to someone else.
Other groups, such as trial lawyers, homebuilders, and realtors, have bigger Political Action Committees and more lobbyists. Our strength is our presence as respected professionals. We have influence even if our individual and professional political views differ from those we are visiting. Half the battle is won by just showing up!
Wendy Heger, AIA, VP for Advocacy, Texas Society of Architects