Tibisay A. Guzman
The Arc of Weschester
As members of APSE we have learned that it is critical that we present a strong voice to politicians about our needs. It is critical that they hear about the needs and wants of individuals with disabilities. The only way our mission can be effectively relayed is if we are prepared. Every year we are faced with challenges that prevent our vision from moving forward; however, we there is also a tremendous amount fo energy and attention being placed on improving employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Now is the time to embrace this energy, and work with our legislators and government partners to make this vision a reality.
NYS APSE suggests the following to help you in building your own survival kit for effective legislative advocacy:
At APSE we are familiar with our representatives. However, often we do not know their major contributors, or their friends, or business partners. These individuals have significant influence and might be willing to help relay APSE's message if they were asked.
It is easy to develop this list of individuals. At your agency many of these influential people are already friends of APSE by:
Start talking in your agencies about who knows who and make a list. If we all work on cultivating these relationships across the state we will increase our advocacy efforts.
In order to have influence over what is in the Governor's budget, it is important to begin advocacy efforts prior to January. Since the Governor releases his budget at the end of January we need to make contact early in order to affect change at this level.
Advocacy efforts with the legislature should begin any time in January and continue.
It is important that we are clear, concise and knowledgeable about our concerns. An effective way to ensure this is to develop a strategic plan which should include:
These are just a few tools that you can add to your survival kit. Add more tools as you discover them. Share tools with fellow APSE members. Together we will not only have the best defense, but also be able to successfully create change.
A special thank you to ACCES-VR for many of the tools for the survival kit.