On the first day of CPAC 2017 the RNLA Wisconsin Chapter Chair, Jake Curtis, gave a speech to a small crowd on how best to continue the conservative agenda that has been reinvigorated after the election cycle.
In a speech entitled “Hold Their Feet to the Fire: Holding Elected Officials Accountable,” Jake conveyed basic methods and concepts to help grassroots activists better participate in the political system and interact with elected officials. The casual talk explained how to interact with elected officials at all levels to move an agenda, but the majority of his talk pertained to those politicians at the local and state levels.
Much of the time allotted was spent explaining how to organize and present oneself as a subject matter expert to elected officials and how to present conservative ideas in a manner that places the activist in the shoes of the elected official. He suggested that individuals do the following:
- Forecast future problems
- Understand the options that the politician has
- Do the politician's homework for him or her
- Be concise
- Never lie or misrepresent the truth or position
He also explained that the best way help an issue is to create relationships with the politicians that are relevant to your issue area, by being aware of who is on which committee and their relevant chair positions.
Beyond that, he suggests that the best way to gain attention is to hold events that would attract elected officials and make them look good in the process. Events such as award and ribbon cutting ceremonies are events that can bring attention to common agendas. Events like these not only garner favor but also allow elected officials to gain political capital in the community, give activists and their ideas face time with the politician, and allow the politician to see those involved as assets.