The Proper Care and Feeding of a Champion
The advocacy process can be very complex and much of it is
hidden from view. Often you need a policymaker (or two) to act
as your champion inside the system.
Ideally, your champion will be someone who:
A leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what
they don't want to do and like it.
-- Harry Truman
- Is influential within the system you want to influence - a
legislator can be influential in advocating within the
administration and vice versa
- Is experienced at working within the system
- Knowledgeable about your issue
- Dedicated to the cause, perhaps for personal reasons
- Works easily with you and your organization
Champions can be
- Legislative staffers
- Agency staffers
- Experienced advocates
- Influential organizations - e.g. CBIA, CT State Medical Society,
- Another elected official - e.g. a mayor
After you identify your champion(s) -TRUST them.
- Get them what they need when they need it - e.g. information, fact
sheets, mailings, a grant written, a letter to the editor
- Do what they tell you - if they tell you to organize calls to a
legislator, do it
- Communicate with them often - let them know what is happening
outside the process, find out what is happening inside
- Thank them profusely and publicly
- Support them after the process (and before the next time) - e.g.
make sure your supporters know of their hard work, work on their
In advocacy trainings, I advise that if your champion wants you to
walk his dog, do it. Legislative and administrative processes have
become so complex that an inside strategy is often necessary.
In "Separated by
Velvet Ropes" published 5/25/03 in the Hartford Courant's
Northeast magazine, Kevin Rennie describes the culture and frenzy at the
end of the legislative session. A former Senator, his description is
vivid and accurate.
How to work with campaigns
Navigating the Legislative Process
Tips No Advocate should forget
Classic Advocate Mistakes
The Importance of Legislative
Visiting with a
Connecticut's Budget Process
Directions to the Legislative
Office Building and the State Capitol
Rules and customs for
navigating within the Legislative Office Building and the State Capitol
How to work with a lobbyist
Legislators - Who are They?
How to Create Fact Sheets and
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