Proactive, Prepared, & Productive Policymaking

October 14, 2022 | Elections in Iowa BrownWinick,

  1. Build Relationships Early and Often. Iowa’s elected officials and staff are highly accessible and willing to meet with individuals and business constituents. Consequently, take advantage of the time between legislative sessions and meet with legislators and staff one-on-one to build valuable relationships before the next session starts and before you or your business need something. As part of your relationship building, help legislators understand the impact of your organization to the legislator’s district and the state – invite them to your place of business, let them see and experience directly your operations, and help them truly appreciate why they should care about the issues that are important to you. While Iowa has a long history of often electing incumbents, there are always new faces and this upcoming legislative session will be no exception as we anticipate upwards of possibly 50 or more new legislators that will serve in the Iowa legislature next year. As such, relationship building must be ongoing. With the November general elections right around the corner and the 2023 legislative session starting January 9, the clock is ticking…
  2. Develop Policy and Action Steps Early. If you have policies that you want to see passed or maintained, or policies you want to express concerns about, start early. Starting early will afford you time to further understand the policy and political landscape, better define the problem and solution, refine your messaging, develop answers to questions as they arise, and ultimately advance your cause. Once the legislative session starts, time with legislators is much more limited and passage of bills are regulated by predetermined funnel dates that restrict discussion by a certain date. When you meet with a legislator, be sure to know what action steps you want the legislator to take, i.e. draft a bill, support your business on a particular policy issue, or meet with your coalition.
  3. Build a Coalition. If you have a policy you wish to work on, either a bill you would like to see passed or a bill you are opposed to, identify others who may be like-minded and build a coalition to work together. Listen to the concerns of other stakeholders and share your bill draft early to get their input and support. There can be strength in numbers at the Iowa Capitol, and despite the buzz of activity on the Hill during session,  it can be a lonely place if you go it alone.