Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Political Advocacy

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Political Advocacy

Article excerpt

Developments

As developmental educators find their programs, courses, and faculty in the politcal "limelight" more often, the importance of maintaining an active political voice increases. Phyllis Post, in The Carolina Counselor, outlines some key points from a presentation by Scott Barslow at an American Counseling Association's regional meeting regarding effective advocacy.

Whether or not you've ever communicated with a legislator previously, keep the following in mind when you advocate for yourself and your profession: * be direct and specific in asking for what you want * keep your message simple * find a particular target * track your progress and, in the process, be persistent and always follow up. In your communications remember to: * avoid using jargon * support good decision-making and contact representatives before decisions are made * most importantly, MAKE CONTACT as any voice is better than none.

Mail is the means by which officials receive the majority of information about voter sentiment. If you choose to write a letter to a representative, remember that more weight is given to a personally composed, thoughtful one representing an individual's point of view about specific legislation than to a form letter. When composing a letter: * identify who you are and why you are writing * keep your letter brief (2 pages or less) and only address one issue per letter * use a bill number or title to refer to legislation or describe the issue in sufficient detail to allow for a thoughtful response * request a specific action from the legislator (a vote, cosponsoring a bill, etc.) or ask for an explanation of the legislator's position * share your perspective about why the topic is important, how it will affect local constituents including yourself, and add any personal insights you have * remain positive and apply respect and courtesy even if you disagree with your legislator * forward to to your organization a copy of any correspondence you send or replies you receive. …

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