Welcome to the Grassroots Advocacy Training Exchange (GATE), an interactive
resource designed to help you and your organization define or change the state and
federal policies that affect your life and livelihood.
The key to reaching your objectives under a democratic government has always
been participation, a technique that is both time-honored and very much cutting
edge, in light of recent lobbying and campaign finance reforms. So begin by
participating in the GATE to learn the skills you need and find the resources
necessary to gain your representatives' attention.
The GATE site consists of five major areas, each designed to provide a
distinct piece to the grassroots advocacy puzzle. The Grassroots Program Development
area offers several fundamental lessons for organizing an effective grassroots
campaign. The Legislators and Policy-Makers area provides you with an
extensive library of links that can instantly connect you to your
representatives e-mail, government web-sites, and related resources.
Reference Materials contains a glossary that may help you better
understand the terminology and jargon that exists in policy-making circles.
Idea Exchange is an area where you can share your experiences and opinions
with GATE. Finally, if you need guidance of a more advanced, more extensive, or more
specialized nature, in the About Kevin Gottlieb & Associates Inc. area you will find the
background and contact information for the 20-year veteran in public policy and
grassroots advocacy issues.
The designers of America's governing structure described a government of the
people, by the people, and for the people. These familiar phrases are appealing
today, but do most Americans feel that the promise of the nation's founders is
as alive today as they believe it was in the 1780s? Surveys of current public
opinion indicate that too many American citizens believe "special interest
groups" have excessive influence when the Congress determines the policies
by which laws are passed and people are led. In the 21st century, one still hears the
frequent call for a return to the time when the public interest exerted more
power than private interests.
The truth is that at no time in America's history has the individual
citizen's access to their government been greater. Every American, as an
individual or by joining a group, is provided nearly unlimited access to
government institutions and the people who run them. The methods for access are
available. Unfortunately, too few citizens, groups, private companies, and
industries know about those methods of access or how to use them productively in
order to be heard by the officials elected or appointed to serve them.
Since the beginning of the 1980s, public attitudes toward participation in
government are changing. Increasingly, individual citizens, working
alone and in groups, in both the public and private sectors, have chosen to
participate in what has been termed "grassroots constituency involvement."
In ever greater numbers, they are involved in the making of public policy, the
conduct of government, and the process of politics. The numbers participating
are still far too small, but the trend is improving.
Campaign finance and lobbying reforms promise to alter the
balance of power and change the conduct of the decision-making process in
Washington and the state capitals. Increased disclosure requirements for
professional lobbyists and new rules governing contributions to campaigns are
certain to open the policy-making process, especially to groups of individuals
from the Congressional and state legislative districts where their
representatives are elected.
For the individual, these reforms mean there is greater opportunity for
their voices to be heard on Capitol Hill and in state capitals. For advocacy
groups, it's a chance to re-align their efforts on a newly invigorated front.
For corporate America, it means a significant rethinking of the strategies and
even the tools used to pursue their particular policy interests.
How well you, your organization or company is prepared to perform under the
new rules of battle will to a large degree determine your success
in advancing your political and public-policy agenda. It could be argued that
the playing field is being leveled, that having money alone is no longer as
important as having popular support. But the truth is that, as always, those who
are most decisive in their approach, who understand how the procedures work, and
who work in teams are the ones who will ultimately prevail in Washington and the
The most basic principle of politics is that "all politics is local."
That reality has never been more true than right now. Kevin Gottlieb &
Associates' Grassroots Advocacy Training Exchange GATE is
dedicated to helping America's individual, corporate, and public interest groups
understand how democracy in action will look and operate in the
new public policy environment. GATE is the interactive handbook for effecting
change in America. Every person, group, and organization can use the GATE to
enter the new world of grassroots public policy-making.
GRASSROOTS PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT | LEGISLATORS AND POLICY-MAKERS | REFERENCE MATERIALS | IDEA EXCHANGE | ABOUT KGA
Kevin Gottlieb & Associates, Inc.
P.O. Box 3240
Annapolis, MD 21403-0240
(301) 858-5101 tel