The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr is regarded as one of the most effective advocates in the history of the United States. He understood that much work had to be done to see the changes he wanted achieved.
Advocacy is a challenge that often times is not easy, and sometimes can be life-changing and with him, life-ending. Many think that simply being convincing in arguments and with the ability to understand different subjects, even being experts in their particular field, will suffice.
Unfortunately, it takes far more than these two particular gifts. Connections developed by advocates with policymakers is of key importance, as well as being able to encourage followers for the cause, along with the dedication and persistence to see success against overwhelming obstacles are all important.
In state advocacy, understanding the legislative process is also key to seeing success in changing policy and laws as there are deadlines in which ideas can be filed, moved through the system, and ultimately voted upon before going to the governor for signature or veto. Of extra importance is familiarity with the financial issues facing the state and knowing how much money is available during that session when lawmakers consider a final budget vote, usually each May at the end of their annual session.
If you want to be a part of the solution, it is important to know the rules, procedures, peculiarities, and especially the personalities and leanings of those who will be voting on those ideas. Just like everything else in life, you need to do a little homework before you take the test, and in this case, the test is working to get an idea you like passed into law.
In order to provide more information regarding nuances of the 2021 legislative session and the overall process of how the Oklahoma State Capitol operates, OICA and the Oklahoma Policy Institute offer two separate trainings. Both training sessions will be presented virtually online.
The State Budget Summit and Advocate Training offered by the Oklahoma Policy Institute will be held on Jan. 26 and 27 from 9 a.m. to noon both days. You can register at https://okpolicy.org/events/state-budget-summit/ for this event.
OICA will hold our four-day Legislative Learning Lab, which is “the freshmen orientation lawmakers and advocates need but have never received,” Jan. 27 through Feb. 1. The two events will overlap on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 27. For those who want to participate in both trainings, OICA will record its morning programming on Jan. 27 and make that content available that afternoon for those who are registered for both events.
OICA also offers a $10 discount for its four-day event for those who register for both programs as an incentive to participate in both online events. Use the promo code OKPOLICY at checkout to receive the discount on the OICA link at https://oica.org with the Legislative Learning Lab link.
I would encourage you, should you have the time, to consider signing up for both of these trainings if you want to engage more in state government, or with your organization should you and your team want to have a positive impact on seeing positive change occur for our state.
Knowledge is power, and these two events will provide you with the introductory steps to have a powerful voice as an advocate in Oklahoma. We need more advocates like Dr. King in the world, and I hope you will accept that challenge to do your part.