• WisPolitics

Thursday, October 20, 2016

 10:29 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Just hold your nose and vote!

As a child, I loved going to the voting booth with my dad – back when there were levers to pull for candidates.  When I reached voting age, I practically skipped to the polls to cast my ballot and wore my “I Voted” sticker with pride all day.  This cycle, I am genuinely worried I may be sick on my way to or from my polling place, but I will still vote. 

America spoke.  These are our nominated party candidates.  To not vote is squandering a privilege others long to hold.  To not vote is a vote: a vote in support of everything a person opposes because he did nothing to change the outcome. 

Although many people, myself included, are disheartened by the top of the ticket selections, we must still show up on November 8. 

Votes matter.  We cannot assume anything and should not take anything for granted.  Nothing is certain until the ballots are counted. 

But how to decide when the two front-runners hold the lowest favorability ratings ever in a presidential cycle?  The Washington Post recently researched what voters do when they consider every option bad and found that people tend to vote by rejecting the choices they do not like, instead of affirmatively choosing the one they dislike the least.  Whatever works for the voter mindset …

We are fortunate to live in the United States. Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” 

Our nation is the envy of people across the globe who do not have the right to vote.  Voting is a privilege.  It demonstrates a small attitude of gratitude that says, “I’m grateful to live in such a great country and I am doing my part.”  Reports of low voter turnout are a sad representation of our nation, regardless of how frustrated we feel this cycle.  Yes, government can be slow, and yes, elected officials are human and make mistakes, but voting can bring about change – look at the Tea Party movement or the UK’s Brexit vote for recent examples (for better or worse). 

Sometimes advocating a position means compromise, not extremes, but it does not mean giving up.  Sometimes it means waiting a turn instead of instant gratification, but we still must try to move the ball forward.  And, sometimes voting is not all about us, but the overall greater good. 

Our votes should be cast based on more than who sounds like us, or who we would like to drink a beer with, or our level of anger.  We are electing the leader of the free world.  This is a huge responsibility to our family, friends, and fellow citizens here at home, and to people across the entire globe – especially those who do not hold the right to vote.  Of the candidates, who is best to lead the nation for the next four years?  Represent us on the global stage? 

If we do not like our choices, then let this be a lesson for us.  And let us hope that Washington officials also learn a lesson and become more action-orientated. 

Perhaps in future elections we all could pay more attention to substance over soundbites.  We may live in a 24-hour news cycle world, but maybe instead of saying he or she holds my attention, or speaks the best, maybe it is time to start examining plans, policies, and records of achievement.  Maybe we should be listening more to what a candidate is truly saying – regardless of the candidate’s level of energy when saying it, appearance, or how well the candidate works the media.

With all that said, let us not lose hope.  Our great nation has had good and not-so-good presidents in the past, and we have endured and prospered because of, and sometimes even in spite of, that president.  Our nation is bigger and stronger than any one individual. 

Additionally, the Founding Fathers were wise in establishing a system that leaves much of the critical decision making to states and local governments.  Leaders for positions at the state, county, and local governments are on ballots across the country, and are worth our consideration, as well as a trip to the polling place.  These elected officials are far more likely to impact our daily lives than the president, so please research them and cast the ballot accordingly. 

Yes, I dread voting for a presidential candidate this election.  However, at the end of the day, I am grateful to live in an amazing country where I have the right to vote, and I am appreciative of all the candidates who are willing to run for office and serve in a (often) thankless job.  

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. Like 1492 Communications on Facebook to learn more.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

 8:23 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Congressional ABC’s and 123’s

As Congress is in recess until the November election, now is a great time to catch-up on some homework. By homework, I mean the Congressional version of ABC’s and 123’s, such as knowing bill sponsors and numbers, and preparing one-pagers.

Before any meeting or contacting an elected official, it is critical to do the necessary homework to ensure advocates position themselves in the best light and are viewed as a trustworthy source. Some items seem really simple, but they are often overlooked by groups. As a result, the group loses some credibility. For instance, I cannot even count the number of times a group lobbied my office on a piece of legislation without knowing the actual bill number. In my informal survey of Hill staff, this occurrence was common throughout their meetings as well. In corporate America, this would be like not having cost estimates for a project, or in the classroom, the teacher not knowing what chapter the class was on.

It is important to remember that while a group may eat, sleep and breathe that one specific bill, Members of Congress and staff deal with more than 10,000 pieces of legislation that are introduced into Congress each session. To ensure the member and staff are aware of the correct legislation, make sure they have the bill specifics: a group advocating in support or opposition of a bill should always provide the bill name, number, and sponsor.

For some homework extra credit, be aware that these numbers often change with a new session. Come January, Congress hits the reset button, which means bills need to be reintroduced and will then receive a new number.

Another good homework project is preparing a one-page document with all the pertinent information of the legislation in an easy-to-read format. Yes, this should include the bill name, number, and sponsor, and if it has a companion bill in the other chamber, but a one-page document should also include useful facts, such as a brief bill summary, cost estimates, historical framework, district impacts, timelines and so forth. This document is what members and staff will read first, so it should be full of details and accurate. Many groups like to provide the one-pager during the meetings, however, a majority of staff, would prefer receiving the one-pager ahead of time to be better informed on the issue. This can be done by sending it with the meeting confirmation email and also bringing copies to the meeting. After all, does a group prefer the member or staff read it A) while the group is presenting, or B) ahead of time to provide for a better meeting conversation?

Those answering B receive the “A” for the day!

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. Like 1492 Communications on Facebook to learn more.

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

DC Wrap site feed


wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us


WisPolitics coverage of news from the nation's capital.

JR Ross, David Wise

· DC Wrap site feed (RSS)

· Sign up for email delivery of the weekly DC Wrap column


· Tammy Baldwin (D)
· Ron Johnson (R)

· 1st CD: Paul Ryan (R)
· 2nd CD: Mark Pocan (D)
· 3rd CD: Ron Kind (D)
· 4th CD: Gwen Moore (D)
· 5th CD: F. James Sensenbrenner (R)
· 6th CD: Glenn Grothman (R)
· 7th CD: Sean Duffy (R)
· 8th CD: Reid Ribble (R)



· July 2013: Wood's 2001 DC inauguration trip turned into new career
· May 2013: Hard work propels Berens from Doyle to Pelosi to DGA
· March 2013: Riemann uses PR skills, 'lunch-pail work ethic' to boost state interests in D.C.
· Feb. 2013: Stocks seeks to remake NEA as 'more than a traditional labor union'
· Dec. 2012: As modest Kohl bids farewell to Senate, others do the bragging
· Dec. 2012: Wisconsin experience provides guideposts to Priebus at RNC


· May 2009
· June 2009
· July 2009
· August 2009
· September 2009
· October 2009
· November 2009
· December 2009
· January 2010
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· May 2010
· June 2010
· July 2010
· August 2010
· September 2010
· October 2010
· November 2010
· December 2010
· January 2011
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· May 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· June 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· September 2016
· October 2016
· November 2016
· December 2016
· January 2017
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications