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Anyone Can Change A Law
It is easy to feel disconnected from government and politics in this day and age. With lobbyists, special interests, and powerful billionaires having their voices being heard, there is not much left for the average citizen looking to improve their general quality of life through intelligent and well-enacted legislation. If you want your voice to be heard, then don’t give up. Borrowing heavily from the incredible change seen in the tech industry, there is a 21st century solution to this problem with democracy. It goes by the name of iLobby.
Connect, Debate, Engage
Simply put, iLobby is the easiest way to pass a law. A community based around discussing, proposing, and finding support for laws, iLobby is an incredibly powerful tool and social media platform for bringing about change. For far too long, the voices of individuals have been lost in the yelling contest between the wealthy and special interests. While letters to congressmen continue to be ignored, nothing can stand against the incredible power of grass roots lobbying and social consensus. Old techniques are gone, and a new and improved method is now being utilized. So how can you become a part of the iLobby movement?
A 21st Century Solution To Having Your Voice Heard
Through the iLobby website, you can choose how much you want to participate in the conversation. For example, you can stay in the background and simply listen to the ideas, debates, and movements other people bring to the table. If you want to play a more active role, then you can fully harness the power of being one person with one vote. You and everyone else are real people who have important perspectives necessary for continuing a healthy democracy. Vote on what you feel is important, argue on the merits of what you believe, share and like things that you want to promote, and pledge yourself to a particular cause. In addition if you are successful, you might even get a chance to hire a lobbyist to represent your interests in government.
What Are You Waiting For?
Democracy is rule by consensus. The more you allow your political voice to strengthen, the more you will feel like your contribution has purpose. Remember that anyone has the power to change a law, including you. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Help shape your destiny.
by EP (Guest Blogger)
Sooner or later, many organizations will find their fortunes linked to government corridors and committee rooms, where it can still be a challenge to get their members’ voices heard. Apathy is pretty common, unfortunately. Just as the 2014 midterm turnout for Election Day was the lowest in 72 years, when associations make members’ political involvement as easy as clicking an online “take action” button, many still don’t bother. It’s time to introduce newer ways to engage members in grass-roots political activism.
It’s the rare American who can just pick up the phone and have a heart-to-heart with a governmental decision-maker. Yet abstaining from the political process is like failing to make a will—eventually, there’s a gap between your own goals and how the government handles them. Lobbyists help bridge that gap. Major corporations understand this and have long worked the system to their advantage. In 2014, some 11,509 registered lobbyists argued the causes of organizations that shelled out about $2.41 billion for their services, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. However, for many associations, influencing decision-makers is more difficult. Just getting them to focus on the organization’s issues is tough.
Lobbying is a fact of life.
It’s the rare American who can just pick up the phone and have a heart-to-heart with a governmental decision-maker. Yet abstaining from the political process is like failing to make a will — eventually, there’s a gap between your own goals and how the government handles them.
Lobbyists help bridge the gap. Major corporations understand this and work the system to their advantage. In 2014, some 11,509 registered lobbyists argued the causes of organizations that shelled out about $2.41 billion for their services, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
For many associations, influencing decision-makers is more difficult. Just getting them to focus on the organization’s issues is tough.
Who needs lobbyists?
Several types of associations may find themselves most in need of improving outreach to public officials. These include:
- Smaller-scale associations that lack budgets for a governmental affairs department or even for a specialized position to handle those duties.
- Associations in highly regulated fields. These are groups that acutely feel the effects of government policies, and need help asserting their complex interests. Examples include: health care, banking, energy, telecommunications.
- Associations whose members come from businesses operating in the absence of settled law. Think Internet privacy, UAV drones, and startups that threaten the establishment (like Uber or AirBnB).
Which engagement options actually work?
Strategies for offering input to lawmakers range from the traditional to the cutting-edge. Personal letters, emails and phone calls will at least show up in a summary by the lawmaker’s staff. Heavy call volume gets attention. But lawmakers only care about voters and businesses in their own districts. That’s one reason they think they can ignore entreaties that originate with mass mailings or online petitions. Some executives report better results with letters on their personalized letterhead — with real signatures — targeted to specific lawmakers.
Web pages and online position statements may include “take action” buttons. Again, these generate boilerplate communications. And they might require your members to supply personal information they’d rather not share online or to slog through policy verbiage, both of which can discourage people from clicking through.
An innovative political persuasion platform, iLobby.co, also called cloud-based lobbying, applies crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to the political process. Here anyone can start an online dialogue on an issue on which they want elected officials to take action. Others join in, adding their support and/or arguments. Congressional districts are included on the site, which is important because while issues transcend boundaries, voters do not.
When participants in the platform reach a consensus, they contribute funding to hire a registered lobbyist who’s not only savvy about their issue, but able to document the political districts represented.
Lawmakers want feedback.
Online formats facilitate the exchange of information. A former California state senator, Joe Simitian, even encouraged voter feedback through this medium when he expressed his belief, “There oughta be a law.” Yet associations may need to overcome the belief that politics is not any of the association’s business. According to Bob Breault, who chairs the Arizona Optics Cluster, “They consider it ‘corrupt’ and all that politicians do is take money from them — most often for the wrong reasons.”
Yet Breault supports a cloud-based lobbying approach. “People will participate if someone makes it easy to pass along their opinions to the appropriate legislator. Of course, the discussions need to be civil and respectful and factual, and not emotional tirades.”
Online discussions also can turn up real-life stories on the effects of legislation. These are especially useful if an association needs people to tell their stories in a committee hearing.
What’s important to remember is that association members are constituents, too. Since many members already like the simplicity of using services like eBay and Amazon, online lobbying can be a natural extension to foster political relationship-building. They are an easy way to get members more involved in political issues, which are vital to their lives and careers.
Originally published in Association News, March, 2015
According to a recent poll  the job performance rating of Congress continues to reflect a very low 7% positive job approval score. Why is that?
Why do we accept such poor performance? Do we think if they did more, worked harder, longer, smarter, they’d get a better result?
Do we want Congress to be more productive and pass more laws with more pages? Even now we learn that Dodd-Frank has 5,320 pages covering 400 new regulations . ObamaCare was a 2,700-page bill and so far has 13,000 pages of new regulations . Or do we want Congress to undo some of the old laws that we no longer like? Would we prefer Congress respond to issues that we think are important? Or did we elect our member to vote the way he or she wants?
If the polls are right and 90% of Americans believe that Congress is doing a poor job, how can that be? Are we accepting mediocrity as the price of freedom? If we vote for the “best candidate” in our district, why are they so effective campaigning as a candidate and so ineffective as a Member of Congress?
Have campaigning and fundraising proficiency trumped their legislative ability?
Ask yourself, why do we keep electing the same politicians if we get inferior results year after year?
Is it because Congress is not performance-based? We know it is not a meritocracy. The best do not rise to the top. The best are not rewarded for their great behavior. Seniority rules. So incumbency attracts power. Power attracts position and campaign donations. Then position and donations are used to attract more support, votes and tenure.
Maybe we’re using the wrong metrics when we think about measuring Congress’ job performance.
If the pollsters are right and Congress is as bad as they claim, then each of us is responsible for continuing to elect poor performers to the Congress. Or are they accomplished people who are incapable of getting anything done because they have to continually convince a majority of their 535 peers?
Whenever I have seen voters with their Congressman they are always gushing, the voters not the Congressmen. They refuse to ask tough questions. They throw politically convenient softballs, which the congressman always has the answer to or he makes sure he can use artful circumlocution to wend his way out of a messy question.
Constituents inevitably are very polite. They invite their friends to fundraisers. They are delighted to contribute to the campaign. They seem to be happy with a photo-op standing next to power. And they vote for the same politician over and over and over again.
But when the polls come out, voters polled turn and complain that Congress is not doing its job. Well which is it? They are the doing the job we elected them to do or they are incompetent, economically illiterate, politically mendacious boobs?
If we look at the Congress as a whole it may only be as strong as its weakest link. So, we need to identify the poor performers. They need to be voted out of office.
In corporate America on an annual basis some companies cull 5%-10% of their lowest performing workforce. But if we did that can we expect superior performance from the entire body of Congress? Not if we keep electing the same incumbents for 5, 10 or 15 terms?
I’m not advocating term limits here as some states currently have. This sometimes has the unintended consequence of taking good, seasoned politicians and pushing them out of office.
But if we had a way to systematically look at the Members of Congress, compare them one to the other on an independent basis and discover who falls into the bottom third, it should make it easy to figure out who should then not be reelected.
Political party strategists focus on this but even poor performing incumbents with name recognition can still draw sufficient contributions to drown out a challenger’s voice.
So instead of supporting our congressmen and blindly awarding him an A+ and then complain about the body of Congress by giving them a D-, we should examine closely who our congressman is and ask a different set of questions.
What is my representative’s position on the issues that matter to me and what legislation has he sponsored? What committees or subcommittees does he chair? How much did he receive from his Party committee, the DNC, the RNC etc? Who are his big donors? What percentage of his financial support came from outside his state?
It might surprise you to learn that your district votes may be heavily influenced by media buys sometimes financed by out of state interests. Someone wants you to vote for the incumbent so you don’t rock the boat. Who benefits from his incumbency?
What success has your representative had? What has he done for you? What are his key issues and are his actions really improving your community, your business, your neighborhood and your congressional district?
So if your representative deserves an A, give it to him, but don’t tell the pollsters Congress deserves a D.
Unless you are politically engaged, you may never understand how Congress earns a D while your congressman always gets an A.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”
So engage politically, and give your congressman an honest grade.
Take our free 7-day policy + challenge
 Rasmussen, S. (2012, 13-Jul). Election 2012 – Congressional Performance. From Rasmussen Reports
 Harper, J. (2012, May 07). Inside the Beltway: Dodd-Frank=5,320 pages. Retrieved from Washington Times
 York, B. (2012, 29-March). Washington Examiner. From Obamacare’s 2,700 pages are too much for justices
 Megahy, F. (Writer), & Megahy, F. (Director). (2009). The Best Government Money Can Buy [Motion Picture].