Part I: How to be an advocate with PIA

March 29, 2022

Over the next several weeks, PIA will publish several articles about how to be an advocate. We will discuss how you can engage with PIA Northeast and PIA National to work on the associations’ legislative priorities, or how you can advocate for or against a bill you personally support or oppose. Additionally, we will also review other types of advocacy, such as getting involved politically in campaigns and how you can give of your time or money, both of which candidates and parties always need.

This series will also examine the various ways you can lobby your federal and state legislators, including making phone calls for time-sensitive matters, and face-to-face meetings, which allow for more education on and discussion of issues. We will round out the series by discussing some do’s and don’ts of advocacy, so that you can be sure your efforts are effective and well-received by your elected officials.

Advocating with PIA

Advocacy is a big part of what PIA does. Each of our state associations identify legislative priorities each year, and its members and staff lobby for and against certain pieces of legislation through various channels.

While you can always advocate for or against a bill on your own, based upon your own personal views and beliefs, there are also ways you can engage in advocacy with PIA and try to impact legislation by affecting which legislators get elected to office.

Both PIA Northeast and PIA National have advocacy opportunities based upon the organizations’ legislative priorities.

PIA National has its National Advocacy Day, which is normally over a two-day period in Washington, D.C. However, in 2022, it is virtual due to the federal congressional buildings being closed to large groups. This year, the meetings are rolling, meaning members from each affiliate meet with their legislators at different times throughout the year via video conferencing to talk about PIA National’s legislative priorities.

PIA Northeast has similar opportunities for members to advocate with their state legislators through its District Office Visits programs, during which PIA members meet with their state legislators in their home districts to discuss PIA priorities. These occur throughout the year and are vital connections between PIA and state legislators.

To find out how to participate in state-specific advocacy with state legislators, email govaffairs@pia.org.

PIA advocacy campaigns

PIA Northeast and PIA National both engage members throughout the year through advocacy campaigns. These campaigns are designed to get legislators to support or oppose legislative bills at the federal and state level by having PIA members send letters to their state or national representatives, respectively.

What’s to come

In future articles, this series will address different ways to contact your legislators, how to get involved politically and the dos and don’ts of advocacy.

More in the Advocacy series

About the author…

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D., joined PIA’s Government & Industry Affairs team in 2018 as government and industry affairs specialist. Now, as the PAC coordinator & public policy analyst, she is responsible for managing political action committees in New York and New Jersey; tracking legislation and regulations; helping manage the association’s advocacy initiatives throughout the Northeast states; and drafting position statements and testimonies. Kat previously worked as a Senate fellow for the New York State Senate Fellowship Program; as well as an instructor of public policy at the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y. She also worked as a senior research aid and assistant for the SUNY Research Foundation, Albany, N.Y. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y., in May 2020. She also has her Master of Arts from SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Elmira College, Elmira, N.Y.

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