The endless campaigning, the repetitive political ads, the persistent news coverage, the crazy whirlwind that is election night and then, just like that, it’s all over. The 114th Congress will convene in January, and when your advocates come to DC for your 2015 Capitol Hill Day some of them will have brand new Members of Congress to start building relationships with. Be sure to focus some of your attention on these new legislators as you develop strategies and outline the logistics for next year’s event. Here are some of the considerations you should keep in mind:
- Keep your advocates informed about congressional districts that will have a new incumbent come January. Guide them to the resources that will help them research their newly elected officials, such as OpenSecrets.org to look at campaign contributions. Show them how to look up a legislator’s record if they were once a Governor or member of the State Legislature. If you have any advocates who have good relationships with a House member turned Senator, ask them to reach out to their connections to congratulate them.
- Incorporate relevant information about the new Congress into your advocate training. Whether you’re doing a pre-event webinar or phone call or an in-person training the day before your hill day, spend some time focusing on how your advocates can get to know their new legislators and what a great opportunity this is to indoctrinate them with your issues.
- Early on, some new Members of Congress won’t have an office yet and will have a temporary space in the basement of their building, so if you have an early hill day make sure you are aware of these location changes. Some returning Members will also have room changes as some of the legislators who have been around for a while and have started to develop some seniority will eventually “upgrade” to a better office. Similarly, while new Members usually take on the phone number of the old Member, you might need to call the congressional switch board to connect with some of these offices where the phone number might change. You might consider subscribing to a service like KnowWho which keeps track of these changes.