Lobbying and the Landscape Architect
How to make your voice heard on the Hill.
By Nora Richter Greer
Copyright James Yang/ IMAGES.COM
Listen to the political rhetoric of Campaign 2004 and you'll often hear the buzzwords "special interests." It's not hard to understand
why this phrase is sometimes used in a negative way: The many divergent influences affecting our politicians can change the political landscape.
Less understood, perhaps, is the process of advocating for a specific point of view, one that will affect the passage or rules of legislation.
That process is lobbying, and it can be as simple as writing to a federal, state, or local official to express an opinion on some
public issue or as complex as forming a broad coalition of like-minded organizations to generate support.
Lobbying is a legitimate and necessary part of our democratic process. Public officials cannot make fair and informed decisions without
considering information from a range of interested parties. Therefore, if you are thinking about addressing a legislator on a specific
issue, you need to know the implications of your point of view. You also need to provide the legislator with background material
about why you are lobbying for a certain decision and an analysis of the effects of that decision if it is reached.
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