Big Change is a’coming to Congress: How to be ready.

Big Change is a’coming to Congress:

How to be ready.

By Roger Rickard, RAP Index Consultant

Are you ready for a new Congress? One is coming.

There will be a new a speaker no matter which party controls the house, as Paul Ryan is leaving Congress. There will be new committee chairs and ranking members. There will be new committee assignments. There will also be new congressional staff.

According to Ballotpedia, as of today, there a 56 representatives not seeking re-election to their U.S. House districts. 38 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Additionally, 15 of the 2016 elected members of the House left office early to take another government position or simply resigned for one reason or another.

That leaves us with 71 House seats that have no elected incumbent running in the midterm election, which represents over 16% of the 435 Congressional House seats. One out of six will be new Members of Congress. And, that is if the 364 remaining Members of Congress all get re-elected.

So, there will be a lot of new faces in Congress beginning January 2019. With new faces come new staff. The congressional staff turnover will be high.

The midterms will also have a big impact on the state legislative races. 46 states – representing 88 chambers, have elections this Fall. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures there are nearly 10,000 candidates running to fill 6,066 open seats.

Whether this year’s elections are the most important in a lifetime, as some pundits have professed, is debatable. What’s not debatable is that elections are the driving beat of a thriving healthy democracy and they have consequences.

What are the consequences to you the government affairs and grassroots advocacy professional? Or better yet, why should it matter to you? Here are just a few reasons.

  • You, your staff, and your stakeholders will have to develop new relationships with each of the newly electeds.
  • You will need to get up to speed on their background, their experiences, their goals and what makes them tick.
  • You will need to find out who is new on staff for all 435 Members of the U.S. House and the 100 Members of the U.S. Senate.
  • You will have to find out from your grassroots advocacy stakeholders;
    • Who knows who among the newly elected?
    • How well do they know them?
    • How are they willing to interact (advocate) with them?
  • Then, you will have to keep track and report to your organization leaders how well you have accomplished these tasks.

Twenty years ago achieving even some of these tasks would have been daunting, if almost a monumental feat of success. Today, there are technology tools on the market that work as advocacy relationship managers (ARM) much like CRMs – customer relationship management. The best example of a CRM is cloud-based Salesforce. The ARM – advocacy relationship management – allows you to grow and track your grassroots and grasstops stakeholders in one convenient central location, while linking these stakeholders with elected officials within the state legislatures and the U.S. Congress. Providing you with detailed information on elected officials, their staff, and your key stakeholders – all in one cloud-based platform. Ultimately, an ARM solution is a game-changing piece of advocacy technology for every organization under the sun with advocacy needs.

Change is a com’in – are you going to be ready?

Roger is the founder of Voices in Advocacy, that works with organizations to ensure their advocates are educated, engaged and actively supporting your advocacy mission. Voices in Advocacy is also a sales distributor of the RAP Index, the leading provider of Advocacy Relationship Management.

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