One way to build relationships with policy makers and staffers during the interim is to travel to one or many of the various state legislative conferences that occur during the summer months. There are many options depending on where you live, how much time you have and even your political leanings or special interests. Do a thorough review of each event website in order to decipher if a specific conference would be a good fit for your goals.
Major policy initiatives are often shared within the walls of these conference centers. When you hear a legislator say during session, "Utah is piloting XYZ..." it is likely that information was learned at one of these conferences and got someone's wheels turning locally. The information may also get your wheels turning as an advocate.
The downside is that many of these conferences will cost over a thousand dollars to attend, NOT including your flight or accommodations. However, for a week of guaranteed face time and interaction with fellow politicos - you may find the cash well worth the networking opportunity. Some conferences also offer special pricing for early registration, students or staffers.
If you're strapped for cash and have some connections in your state, you can also consider visiting the host city and piggy backing onto certain social aspects of the conference - without actually registering for the daytime events. This includes happy hour events, dinners out or even sponsoring receptions connected to the event. Not ideal for developing your policy chops and I'm sure NOT preferred by event planners - but regardless, it's an option.
Here are just a few of the conferences coming up this summer. Please comment with any I may have missed - and maybe I'll see you there!
- National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, 34th Annual Conference
- June 22-24 in Dallas TX
- I'M A LITTLE LATE ON THE POSTING HERE, BUT JUST DECIDED TO START THIS BLOG TODAY. Visit NALEO LIVE to view streaming sessions this weekend.
- American Legislative Exchange Council, 44th Annual Meeting
- July 19-21 in Denver, CO
- Looking at the agenda here, this event has an extensive schedule with policy discussions ranging from opioid abuse, transparency and safety in oil and gas regulation, access to dental services in Medicaid, school choice and more. NOTE THAT DUE TO THE SPECIAL SESSION HERE IN TEXAS STARTING THE DAY BEFORE, VERY FEW TEXANS ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND.
- The Council of State Governments Southern Legislative Conference
- July 29 - August 2 in Biloxi, MS
- CSG holds it's annual meetings by region and Texas is in the Southern Region for the organization. Learn more here.
- National Conference of State Legislatures, 2017 Legislative Summit
- August 6-9 in Boston, MA
- Check out the highlights of the agenda here. I'm looking forward to the session, "Communicate to Succeed."
- Women in Government, National Legislative Forum
- September 14-16 in Savannah, GA
- Register here. This southern gal is REALLY looking for an excuse to attend this one!
I've also listed these conferences on the Upcoming Event page.