Friday, December 09, 2005



Especially in lobbying, your grandmother was right; you have to be patient. It is not, as many tend to believe, the case that legislators don't care. In most cases, legislators, while, of course, chasing money and votes, are doing so because they want to make good public policy and serve their constituents and their state/country/city. Of course, serving a county or two, is not the easiest thing in the world to do, and legislators are, consequently, busy people. And in Tennessee, you also have to remember that they all have other jobs and lives outside the legislature as well.

Case in point, in a few hours, I am supposed to be meeting with our prospective bill sponsor for this year. Yep! As much as I consider myself an organizer, and organizing is the main thrust of our work here at TCASK, someone's got to do the lobbying and legislative work. So I had set up this meeting, accommodated all our coalition partners so they could have a seat at the table, when yesterday, I got a call from the legislators scheduler who informed me that the legislator had to be in depositions all day and, consequently, wouldn't be able to make our meeting.

Now, I'm not going to lie, I was a wee bit piqued, but then I looked down at the lobby handout that I had distributed during our legislative training only a few days ago and read one of the rules of lobbying that I'd been preaching "Your legislator has a busy schedule. . . so be flexible" (italics in original). Time for me to remember to practice what I preach. Sometimes meetings get rescheduled. It doesn't mean that my legislator doesn't want to meet with me, it just means that he has other 50,000 constituents and a lot of work to do. I'm going to reschedule the meeting today. I'll thank him for meeting with me and be pleasant about it and probably even score some points for waiting nicely and flexibly. Minor setbacks can become assets if we just listen to Grandma.
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