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 state capitals.
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.
Kevin Gottlieb & Associates, Inc.
All contents of the GATE web site are copyright © 1996 Kevin Gottlieb and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. GATE® is a registered service mark of Kevin Gottlieb and Associates, Inc.