Orange County Branch Newsletter

March 2015

Government Affairs

Federal Advocacy Captains: A New Program from ASCE Government Relations


By: Amber Girard, P.E., QSP/QSD, ENV SP

An exciting new program from ASCE Government Relations, the Federal Advocacy Captains, was recently launched this year.  This new program recruited active ASCE advocates to serve as "citizen lobbyists" and liaisons between ASCE Government Relations staff and their federal elected officials.  These Captains are currently serving in formal roles designed to create a tight information loop between them and ASCE lobbying and grassroots staff in the Government Relations department. 

To kick-off this new program, a one-day training session was held in ASCE’s Washington Office on January 15th, 2015. As one of only twelve Federal Advocacy Captains selected for the inaugural program, I was honored to attend this very informative and beneficial training.  The key sessions focused on ASCE’s 2015 Federal Priority Issues and Strategies, Advanced Advocacy Techniques, Managing Legislator Meetings, Relationship-Building Behaviors and Activities and Action Planning. These training sessions provided an in depth perspective for the Captains to truly understand the available resources and staff at ASCE along with the key issues that we are facing as civil engineers.

There’s entirely too much to include in this article but something I had not realized prior to attending this training was the full breadth and depth of resources offered by the ASCE Government Relations department.  Although I’ve been an ASCE Key Contact for several years, I was not aware of all the information available on the ASCE website at: www.asce.org/Issues_and_Advocacy.   A few of the many great resources include: Click and Connect with Congress, State Legislative Tracking, How to Schedule Back Home Visits and Sample Letters to Your Legislator.  Beyond the myriad of online resources that are available on the ASCE website, you can also help advocate for our nation’s infrastructure by writing opinion editorials (op-ed) and the ASCE Government Relations staff has the resources to help you!  For more information regarding writing your own op-ed contact them at: [email protected]sce.org.     

As a Captain, I’m excited to incorporate and share all that I have learned with the OC Branch Government Relations Committee and use it as we gear up for our own local legislative efforts.  If you’re interested in getting involved with us in the OC Branch Government Relations Committee, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Finally, if you aren’t already an ASCE Key Contact yet, you definitely should be!  Sign up at: www.asce.org/keycontacts.  The Key Contact program provides regular emails with specific government relations issues, including the current debate on #fixthetrustfund, which will keep you informed of what’s going on at the federal and state levels.  

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