Hello! It’s Leah Nash again, your Executive Director. I’m here to give you the lowdown on our Lobby Day. We have had an incredibly busy legislative session this year. Things are moving quickly – and sometimes in not a very traditional way – and we are all learning so much. LWVFL Lobby Day is a way to continue your legislative education and I hope that you will join us! Click here to register now.
Sadly, voting rights are under attack this year, not only in Florida but across the nation. This means that we need your help more than ever in so many ways, such as learning about our bills and issues, contacting and meeting your legislators, and working together to make a difference for the citizens of Florida or in just a few words, defending democracy. The bills and issues that we will discuss specifically deal with limiting drop boxes, Vote-By-Mail operations, voter identification, and more. Beyond election rights, we will also be discussing and learning about our priorities such as natural resources, health care, and education.
This year’s Lobby Day will virtual. I applaud all of you for acclimating to the Zoom world as well as you have. It was scary at first! But COVID-19 forced us to embrace virtual meetings and, I daresay, love them as well. In the continued effort of safety, we will remain virtual. This means that you do not have to travel to Tallahassee or incur hotel expenses. And although we cannot meet each other face-to-face or corner legislators in the hallway or elevator, we still have the opportunity to be as impactful as possible in our messaging and meetings.
Our day will start with a legislator round robin. What does that mean? We have invited your legislators to address attendees about what their priorities are. This is important because if we are going to them later and talk about OUR priorities, we should take time to listen to THEIR priorities. A lot of times we think of lobbying as only delivering our message. But in reality, communication is a two-way street. Listening is important. During these round robins, I encourage you to truly listen to what the legislators have to say and bring up their priorities in your meetings. They will appreciate that you took the time to listen and will (hopefully) take time to listen to you. We are offering both an 8-9 am session and a noon – 1 pm session. Feel free to take your breakfast and/or lunch at these times.
After the first legislator round robin, we will provide you a robust training of how to successfully lobby, especially through a pandemic (who ever thought that we would have to learn this?). We will kick off the morning with a word from President Patti Brigham, who has been tirelessly interviewing and meeting with legislators and partners about our priority bills (click here to view her interview on CNN) and then launch into a learning session from our lobbyists, Jeffrey Sharkey and Lauren Gallo from Capitol Alliance Group (CAG), about the pros and cons of virtual lobbying. Then, we will hear from LWVFL member, former Florida Education Commissioner and State Senator Betty Castor. She will candidly discuss with us how to best effectively communicate with legislators. Finally, CAG and Patti will come back to educate us on our current legislative priorities and talking points will be covered. After the morning training, you will feel comfortable and ready to talk to your legislators about our priorities!
After training, we will host a virtual press conference about an issue that is near and dear to the hearts of LWVFL members: Redistricting and Fair Mapping. As you probably know, LWVFL was a leader in redistricting litigation in 2012 and made huge strides in protecting voter rights through fair mapping. With the Census data soon (as in September, delayed due to COVID-19) being available, redistricting is just on the horizon. At LWVFL, we believe it is our right and obligation to defend fair mapping as well as educate the community about what redistricting is. It is our honor to have LWVFL member and fair mapping lead litigator Ellen Freidin speak at the press conference. Our attendees, media outlets, and partners are invited to attend.
After the press conference and afternoon legislator round robin, we will be hosting appointments with legislators. Jeffrey and Lauren from CAG, along with LWVFL staff, are working on setting up appointments with legislators about our priority bills and reaching out to those of you have expertise in a certain issue and/or is a constituent of those legislators. Due to limited space for attendees (we don’t want to overwhelm the legislators), we will be reaching out to some of you to fill these meeting appointments closer to Lobby Day and releasing that list soon. In the meantime, we encourage you to make appointments with your district legislators and use what you learned at our training!
In the evening, we will come together again virtually to toast our David King Defender of Democracy award recipient. Be sure to attend to find out who the recipient is… I promise, the award is well-deserved! Please note that the name of the award has officially changed to honor David King, another defender of fair maps, who passed away last December. The award is an homage to his work and legacy.
We will also offer caucuses during the week. Zoom links will be added soon. If you are an issue chair and would like to plan a caucus during the week, please email me at email@example.com.
The current schedule is:
Reproductive Health and Justice
Monday, April 5th at 6:30 PM
Chairs: Stacey Kroto and Ginger Mundy
Tuesday, April 6th at 2 PM
Chair: Mary Dipboye
Tuesday, April 6th at 4 – 7 PM
Chair: Cecile Scoon
Wednesday, April 7th at 4 PM
Chairs: Charlotte Nycklemoe and Jennifer Adams
OK, we are almost done with logistics and there really only these two things:
- Scholarships are available for members for a general admission ticket. We want everyone to have the opportunity to attend. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for the application by March 31st.
- What’s the difference between the general admission (GA) and toolkit ticket? GA is completely virtual. Material will be emailed to you ahead of time (no hard copies, also environmentally friendly!). The toolkit ticket includes printed material such as the agenda, program, talking points, etc., as well as a swag item. And the swag item is… drum roll, please… a LWVFL shirt! After registration, we will be contacting you to get your size.
I think that’s it but I may have missed something so please feel free to email me at email@example.com with questions. I hope to “see” you at Lobby Day, be sure to register here. No matter if this is your first Lobby Day or your twentieth, join us and add your voice as a defender of democracy. The time is now.
Leah Nash, Executive Director