Is Sen. W. your next door neighbor? Does Rep. X attend your church? Is your brother best friends with Sen. Y? Didn’t you attend law school with Rep. Z? If so, you too can become a FJA Key Contact.
One of the reasons the legislative program can be successful, despite being out-numbered by the vast “tort reform” lobby, is a direct result of the relationships FJA members have developed with legislators over the years. Developing and fostering these relationships is not a one-shot deal! These contacts must be made year-around to ensure access to legislators at critical times. FJA encourages members to begin to develop a relationship with a legislator or candidate by working on his or her campaign.
Our key contact program is a vitally important component of our program for future legislative successes. This is true grassroots effort by our members and is the most effective part of our lobbying program. The strength of your relationship depends on the strength of your commitment to working, year-round, with a member of the legislature.
Principles of the FJA Key Contact Program include:
- Spread the Work/Broaden the Base
- All Politics is Local – Long-Term Relationships Trump Short-Term Votes
- Start Early and Communicate Regularly
- Practice Makes Perfect
- Teaching Technology
- Regular Reporting
As a key contact, we will contact and provide you with issue papers that detail the FJA’s position on various items that are coming before the legislature. Your duty as a key contact: read these briefings and communicate our position to the legislators with whom you have a relationship. It’s as simple as that!
Also, we must know where our strengths and weaknesses are. Knowledge is power! If FJA staff is to be effective, we must receive feedback from our key contacts as to the results of your contacts with legislators. Feedback forms will be provided to all key contacts for this purpose.
Keep in mind that when we notify our key contacts in the heat of session, we need for each contact to be ready, willing and able to contact the legislator immediately – time is of critical importance to the success of our key contact program.
However, the most important aspect of our program is to establish a year-round relationship with your legislator. Your connection throughout the year makes our job much easier during session.