Building a positive relationship is important, but you also need a plan for success in the governmental process. That plan requires effective lobbying. Here are the basic rules.
Know what you want. Through your board's vision and planning, identify your district's needs. When action by some other level of government is required to address those needs, that action becomes your lobbying objective.
Know the calendar. Understand when elected bodies will be in session and their schedule for taking action on your issue.
Research your legislators' backgrounds, committee assignments and voting records on your issues to find out how they can be most helpful.
Develop positive, working relationships with your legislators by visiting, writing and calling. But, do not overdo your lobbying. Call or write on specific issues and only when you have something to say.
Invite your legislators to events in the district. Ask them to tour your school district and see programs in action. Lobby with your real life experience and how legislation will affect your students. It's your most persuasive tool.
Set priorities. When everything is important, nothing is important. This applies to how you spend your time as well as what you communicate to your legislators. They probably will not support you on every issue. Let them know what is the most important.
Shore up lobbying allies from your community to demonstrate broad support.
Do not forget the media. Getting your message out to the press can influence your legislators and public opinion.
Always be positive and courteous. In politics, no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, but always politeness.
Everyone likes a pat on the back. Remember to thank your legislators for jobs well-done.