Printer Friendly

Board continues look at NLC's advocacy.

The NLC Board of Directors continued to develop strategies for strengthening NLC's lobbying and media strategies and launched new efforts to streamline the policy development process and review the current strategic plan.

Meeting in conjunction with the 2003 Congressional City Conference, the Board discussed lobbying and media approaches with Bill Hoagland, director of budget and appropriations for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and Frank Mankiewicz, vice chairman of Hill & Knowlton and former press secretary to the late Robert F. Kennedy.

NLC President John DeStefano Jr., mayor of New Haven, Conn., told the Board that the strategy session on lobbying was designed to ensure that we "address your most important role as board members--to see that NLC stays focused on its most important service which is lobbying and advocacy on behalf of America's cities and towns."

The discussions built on the work of last year's Board of Directors, which adopted a plan in December to strengthen NLC's lobbying and media outreach. DeStefano's top two priorities for his year as president are that NLC achieves its federal advocacy goals and that NLC is "perceived as and is in fact a stronger lobbying organization."

Hoagland told the Board that NLC's greatest advantage as a lobbying organization is the connection that exists among elected officials.

"You are elected officials, just like every member of Congress," he said. "The fact that you're in this because you care about the good of your communities helps to create an instant connection."

Mankiewicz agreed and encouraged Board members to communicate directly and regularly with their Congressional delegations. "If a mayor or councilmember makes a phone call to a busy member of Congress, it will go through and it will get returned," he said. "Calling your representative in Washington is still a very effective way to lobby."

The Board then worked in small groups to discuss recommended lobbying and media outreach tactics as part of the continuing process of strengthening NLC's lobbying outcomes.

Among the suggestions that emerged from the strategy session were holding additional city lobby days in Washington during the year to build on the momentum of March 11, using public access channels and city websites to educate the public about NLC's federal lobbying priorities, continuing to recognize members of Congress for their work on behalf of cities and towns, and exploring the value of recognizing a reporter for outstanding local coverage to build a relationship with the media.

In other business, the Board discussed a preliminary report from the Municipalities in Transition Panel on Public Finance examining the state and local fiscal crisis and its long-term ramifications.

Transition panel chair Larry Haler, councilmember from Richland, Wash., told the Board that the current fiscal crisis is more than a short-term downturn.

"This crisis is not simply the result of cyclical changes in the economy," Haler said. "Beneath the surface of the current crisis, big and previously unnoticed changes have become increasingly dangerous as the economic tide has ebbed."

Haler said the panel plans to zero in more specifically on both data from cities and towns and strategic approaches and make action recommendations to the Board in July.

Second Vice President Anthony Williams of Washington, D.C, who served as chief financial officer in Washington before his election as mayor, said the work of the panel is essential in the current environment.

"The current fiscal difficulties are going to extend beyond the immediate economic situation," Williams said. "This is an opportunity for us as a network of local organizations to set the agenda for Washington on long-term fiscal issues.

The panel joined with the NLC Officers in calling on the President and the nation's governors to work with city leaders to convene an emergency summit on America's fiscal and economic crisis.

The Board also:

* Launched a review of the policy development process to maximize its value as an advocacy tool and to involve the policy and steering committee members more directly in NLC's lobbying work. The Board Policy and Legislative Committee, led by First Vice President Charlie Lyons, selectman from Arlington, Mass., will lead that effort.

* Initiated a review of the NLC Strategic Plan and the role of the NLC Advisory Council. DeStefano appointed Board member Brenda Barger, mayor of Watertown, S.D., to chair a special committee that will make preliminary recommendations to the Board in July.
COPYRIGHT 2003 National League of Cities
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Becker, Christine
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 17, 2003
Previous Article:Senators stress need to focus on education.
Next Article:Roundup: National League of Cities in the news.

Related Articles
Archer To Lead `New Leadership Trilogy'.
Cities focus on protecting hometown America.
Board discusses NLC's advocacy, lobbying efforts.
NLC makes plans to send strong message to Washington. (Congressional City Annual Conference).
NLC Board to discuss effective advocacy, lobbying. (Advocacy in Action).
WIMG holds conference; discusses media, education issues.
HELO highlights NLC advocacy issues during meeting.
NLC budget focuses on investments in advocacy, technology.
Board of Directors adopts plan to strengthen NLC policy process, link policy to advocacy.
NLC resolutions and policy amendments due August 29.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters