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WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [name] => educating-legislators-on-tech-policy [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog ) [query_vars] => Array ( [name] => educating-legislators-on-tech-policy [post_type] => resources [resource-type] => blog [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [tag] => [cat] => [tag_id] => [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( ) [category__not_in] => Array ( ) [category__and] => Array ( ) [post__in] => Array ( ) [post__not_in] => Array ( ) [post_name__in] => Array ( ) [tag__in] => Array ( ) [tag__not_in] => Array ( ) [tag__and] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__in] => Array ( ) [tag_slug__and] => Array ( ) [post_parent__in] => Array ( ) [post_parent__not_in] => Array ( ) [author__in] => Array ( ) [author__not_in] => Array ( ) [ignore_sticky_posts] => [suppress_filters] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [posts_per_page] => 10 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => [order] => DESC ) [tax_query] => [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( ) [relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( ) [clauses:protected] => Array ( ) [has_or_relation:protected] => ) [date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6361 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2022-01-21 21:01:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-01-21 21:01:48 [post_content] => Part of the beauty of the democratic process is that our elected representatives come from a diverse range of backgrounds and job professions. Before they assumed office, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was an astronaut, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) was a bartender, and Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA-8) was a video game developer. With this diverse range of former professions comes different areas of expertise from space policy, to labor policy, to technology policy. When elected officials are sworn into office, they must make decisions on a wide array of policy areas — anything and everything from agriculture to foreign policy— and we can’t expect them to be experts in every policy area. Since they’ll be legislating in areas outside of their comfort zone, they need to build the expertise necessary to make informed decisions. One of the areas where on-the-job education is critical is technology policy. For one, technology is growing fast, so even someone who came to Congress with expertise needs to proactively keep up.[stat align="right" number="18 million" text="number of U.S. tech jobs"] In addition, the scope of tech policy has grown. More than ever, technology policy intersects with other issue areas from national security to transportation to healthcare. Since tech policy impacts so many other policy areas, it is no longer enough for legislators to assign tech policy to a staffer to be their subject matter expert on all things technology policy. So how do lawmakers make educated technology policy decisions? They connect with lobbyists who are experts on both policy and the specific industry they represent and consult with them to make informed policy decisions. It’s equally as important for lobbyists to take the time to educate a legislator on their industry instead of skipping straight to lobbying, as it builds important trust between a lawmaker and the lobbyist. If a lobbyist skips straight to seeking to influence policy decisions without educating a lawmaker, it can prevent the lawmaker from becoming a champion of their industry. Educated lawmakers are key allies to lobbyists, advocating for their industry on a national scale and to their colleagues.

Why You Should Educate Legislators on Technology

You’ve probably seen viral clips from Senate and House committee hearings with the CEOs of Google and Facebook, where members of Congress struggle to understand what a “finsta” is or how targeted advertising works on social media. Part of this knowledge gap comes from the fact that this Congress is among the oldest in history. [stat align="right" number="61" text="average age of Senator in 117th Congress"]But more importantly, technology is an industry built on a breakneck speed of innovation, making it more difficult to govern than other policy areas as the industry is constantly changing and the implications of its work for the future isn’t always predictable. The technology sector accounts for a massive 12 percent of U.S. GDP and 18 million jobs. But the legislation used to regulate and govern the tech industry has not been updated at the same rapid pace. You’ve probably heard lawmakers talk about Section 230, passed in 1996, that states websites are not liable for content posted by third parties on their site. Since 1996, the internet has grown and evolved exponentially, especially with the emergence of social media, and now both Republicans and Democrats are calling for more comprehensive guidelines to regulate the internet and the tech industry as a whole to moderate and hold platforms liable for posts made on their sites by users. From the metaverse to Main Street, technology policy can be complex and require education to navigate and legislate. Here are five steps lobbying teams at tech companies can take to educate lawmakers on technology policy to help them make the right policy decisions:

How to Educate Lawmakers on Tech Policy

1. Proactively Communicate Industry Happenings With Legislators

The technology industry is growing and innovating at a more rapid pace than other industries. While your industry is your singular focus, it is just one policy area legislators need to keep up with. That’s why organizations that represent the tech industry, like Engine, share relevant industry updates and announcements via weekly newsletters to legislators and staffers their team meets with. Use a tool like Quorum Outbox, to identify and target your policy communications to key policy influencers that sit on committees covering tech policy or staffers that manage issues related to tech. These newsletters keep them consistently in the loop with your organization and industry’s advancements. By proactively engaging with key legislators and keeping them abreast of industry developments, you continue their education on your industry’s needs and build a relationship with them before you have an ask of them.

2. Brief Yourself on a Lawmaker’s Online Dialogue Ahead of Meeting

[callout align="right" heading="Turn social media dialogue into actionable government relations strategy" button_text="See how Quorum can help" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/social-media-government-relations-strategy/"] Once you’ve booked a meeting with a lawmaker to discuss tech policy, track their dialogue that mentions your policy area to get a better understanding of the legislator’s baseline knowledge. If their posts are inaccurate or show a low level of understanding, you can try to spend more time educating those members and correcting misconceptions. Or, if their posts are highly accurate on your issues, you can then adjust your meeting talking points to address policy issues at a more advanced level.

3. Create Customized Leave-Behinds

A legislator may be aware of the tech industry’s importance but may need help understanding the tech industry’s direct impact on their district. When meeting with a legislator, compose a leave behind that conveys how their district is specifically impacted through facts and figures that can help make the issue feel more tangible. A good leave-behind should include quantifiable data on the tech industry’s impact on the district of the legislator you meet with. This data can be anything from the number of your organization’s facilities within their district or the number of employees you have in their district.[callout align="right" heading="Four economic datasets you should include in your leave-behind" button_text="Learn how to map by legislative district" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/four-datasets-map-legislative-district/"] Leave-behinds provide physical materials legislators can reference and review when making policy decisions, boosting your chances for them to champion your industry. You can easily pull data that focuses on your industry’s economic impact on their district by using Quorum’s download center to build your leave-behinds.

4. Share Personal Stories from Constituent Advocates

Alongside the facts and figures in your leave-behind, you should also bring advocate stories from a legislator’s district to make your industry’s priorities personal to the legislator and their staff. To start, create a place on your advocacy website where advocates can submit stories on your industry’s impact on their personal lives. With a bank of stories stockpiled, you can easily pull firsthand accounts of your industry’s impact on a legislator’s constituents to share in your meeting with them. Advocate stories work because they put a face to your industry, as Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA-4) explained to Quorum, “When you hear a familiar city or even a familiar name from a particularly active constituent, that helps resonate with the congressman or congresswoman.” For the tech industry, these stories can be from an employee of your organization or a user of your product and how given policies would impact their day-to-day lives. [callout align="left" heading="Planning your next fly-in?" button_text="Read our guide for the key to success" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/lobby-day-guide/"] You can share these stories in your meetings or bring constituents to a meeting through a fly-in, virtual call, or video of their story. These firsthand accounts of your industry’s impact help further educate legislators on what it means to work in the tech industry.

5. Utilize In-Person Events to Give Legislators a Firsthand Experience

There’s no greater way for legislators to learn about tech than seeing it for themselves, either through site visits or trade shows. If your technology company has a physical presence within a legislator’s district, coordinate a site visit when they’re in-district of your local facility to give them a first-hand experience of your organization’s involvement within the community. As explained by Walmart’s public affairs team member Matt Fitz-Gerald, site visits, “provide an opportunity to talk about something when they are sitting on our property and be able to show the effect of whatever that legislative thing is in a see, touch, and smell kind of way.” Site visits help further educate elected officials on why you are advocating for certain policies by allowing them to see for themselves. You should also strategically attend trade shows that have an annual high turnout of key policy influencers, like CES. Trade shows like CES give legislators the opportunity to see and try out new technologies for themselves, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the technology industry.

Conclusion

A key measure of success in building legislative champions is that when a lawmaker is confused on an issue, it’s your team they call. By taking these five steps to educate legislators about technology, you position yourself as the reliable expert on your industry to legislators and their staff so they know they can come to you with any questions or policy debates. [post_title] => When the Lobbyist Becomes the Teacher: Educating Legislators on Tech Policy [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => educating-legislators-on-tech-policy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-14 15:41:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-14 15:41:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=6361 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [queried_object_id] => 6361 [request] => SELECT wp_posts.* FROM wp_posts WHERE 1=1 AND wp_posts.post_name = 'educating-legislators-on-tech-policy' AND wp_posts.post_type = 'resources' ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6361 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2022-01-21 21:01:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-01-21 21:01:48 [post_content] => Part of the beauty of the democratic process is that our elected representatives come from a diverse range of backgrounds and job professions. Before they assumed office, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was an astronaut, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) was a bartender, and Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA-8) was a video game developer. With this diverse range of former professions comes different areas of expertise from space policy, to labor policy, to technology policy. When elected officials are sworn into office, they must make decisions on a wide array of policy areas — anything and everything from agriculture to foreign policy— and we can’t expect them to be experts in every policy area. Since they’ll be legislating in areas outside of their comfort zone, they need to build the expertise necessary to make informed decisions. One of the areas where on-the-job education is critical is technology policy. For one, technology is growing fast, so even someone who came to Congress with expertise needs to proactively keep up.[stat align="right" number="18 million" text="number of U.S. tech jobs"] In addition, the scope of tech policy has grown. More than ever, technology policy intersects with other issue areas from national security to transportation to healthcare. Since tech policy impacts so many other policy areas, it is no longer enough for legislators to assign tech policy to a staffer to be their subject matter expert on all things technology policy. So how do lawmakers make educated technology policy decisions? They connect with lobbyists who are experts on both policy and the specific industry they represent and consult with them to make informed policy decisions. It’s equally as important for lobbyists to take the time to educate a legislator on their industry instead of skipping straight to lobbying, as it builds important trust between a lawmaker and the lobbyist. If a lobbyist skips straight to seeking to influence policy decisions without educating a lawmaker, it can prevent the lawmaker from becoming a champion of their industry. Educated lawmakers are key allies to lobbyists, advocating for their industry on a national scale and to their colleagues.

Why You Should Educate Legislators on Technology

You’ve probably seen viral clips from Senate and House committee hearings with the CEOs of Google and Facebook, where members of Congress struggle to understand what a “finsta” is or how targeted advertising works on social media. Part of this knowledge gap comes from the fact that this Congress is among the oldest in history. [stat align="right" number="61" text="average age of Senator in 117th Congress"]But more importantly, technology is an industry built on a breakneck speed of innovation, making it more difficult to govern than other policy areas as the industry is constantly changing and the implications of its work for the future isn’t always predictable. The technology sector accounts for a massive 12 percent of U.S. GDP and 18 million jobs. But the legislation used to regulate and govern the tech industry has not been updated at the same rapid pace. You’ve probably heard lawmakers talk about Section 230, passed in 1996, that states websites are not liable for content posted by third parties on their site. Since 1996, the internet has grown and evolved exponentially, especially with the emergence of social media, and now both Republicans and Democrats are calling for more comprehensive guidelines to regulate the internet and the tech industry as a whole to moderate and hold platforms liable for posts made on their sites by users. From the metaverse to Main Street, technology policy can be complex and require education to navigate and legislate. Here are five steps lobbying teams at tech companies can take to educate lawmakers on technology policy to help them make the right policy decisions:

How to Educate Lawmakers on Tech Policy

1. Proactively Communicate Industry Happenings With Legislators

The technology industry is growing and innovating at a more rapid pace than other industries. While your industry is your singular focus, it is just one policy area legislators need to keep up with. That’s why organizations that represent the tech industry, like Engine, share relevant industry updates and announcements via weekly newsletters to legislators and staffers their team meets with. Use a tool like Quorum Outbox, to identify and target your policy communications to key policy influencers that sit on committees covering tech policy or staffers that manage issues related to tech. These newsletters keep them consistently in the loop with your organization and industry’s advancements. By proactively engaging with key legislators and keeping them abreast of industry developments, you continue their education on your industry’s needs and build a relationship with them before you have an ask of them.

2. Brief Yourself on a Lawmaker’s Online Dialogue Ahead of Meeting

[callout align="right" heading="Turn social media dialogue into actionable government relations strategy" button_text="See how Quorum can help" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/social-media-government-relations-strategy/"] Once you’ve booked a meeting with a lawmaker to discuss tech policy, track their dialogue that mentions your policy area to get a better understanding of the legislator’s baseline knowledge. If their posts are inaccurate or show a low level of understanding, you can try to spend more time educating those members and correcting misconceptions. Or, if their posts are highly accurate on your issues, you can then adjust your meeting talking points to address policy issues at a more advanced level.

3. Create Customized Leave-Behinds

A legislator may be aware of the tech industry’s importance but may need help understanding the tech industry’s direct impact on their district. When meeting with a legislator, compose a leave behind that conveys how their district is specifically impacted through facts and figures that can help make the issue feel more tangible. A good leave-behind should include quantifiable data on the tech industry’s impact on the district of the legislator you meet with. This data can be anything from the number of your organization’s facilities within their district or the number of employees you have in their district.[callout align="right" heading="Four economic datasets you should include in your leave-behind" button_text="Learn how to map by legislative district" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/four-datasets-map-legislative-district/"] Leave-behinds provide physical materials legislators can reference and review when making policy decisions, boosting your chances for them to champion your industry. You can easily pull data that focuses on your industry’s economic impact on their district by using Quorum’s download center to build your leave-behinds.

4. Share Personal Stories from Constituent Advocates

Alongside the facts and figures in your leave-behind, you should also bring advocate stories from a legislator’s district to make your industry’s priorities personal to the legislator and their staff. To start, create a place on your advocacy website where advocates can submit stories on your industry’s impact on their personal lives. With a bank of stories stockpiled, you can easily pull firsthand accounts of your industry’s impact on a legislator’s constituents to share in your meeting with them. Advocate stories work because they put a face to your industry, as Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA-4) explained to Quorum, “When you hear a familiar city or even a familiar name from a particularly active constituent, that helps resonate with the congressman or congresswoman.” For the tech industry, these stories can be from an employee of your organization or a user of your product and how given policies would impact their day-to-day lives. [callout align="left" heading="Planning your next fly-in?" button_text="Read our guide for the key to success" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/lobby-day-guide/"] You can share these stories in your meetings or bring constituents to a meeting through a fly-in, virtual call, or video of their story. These firsthand accounts of your industry’s impact help further educate legislators on what it means to work in the tech industry.

5. Utilize In-Person Events to Give Legislators a Firsthand Experience

There’s no greater way for legislators to learn about tech than seeing it for themselves, either through site visits or trade shows. If your technology company has a physical presence within a legislator’s district, coordinate a site visit when they’re in-district of your local facility to give them a first-hand experience of your organization’s involvement within the community. As explained by Walmart’s public affairs team member Matt Fitz-Gerald, site visits, “provide an opportunity to talk about something when they are sitting on our property and be able to show the effect of whatever that legislative thing is in a see, touch, and smell kind of way.” Site visits help further educate elected officials on why you are advocating for certain policies by allowing them to see for themselves. You should also strategically attend trade shows that have an annual high turnout of key policy influencers, like CES. Trade shows like CES give legislators the opportunity to see and try out new technologies for themselves, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the technology industry.

Conclusion

A key measure of success in building legislative champions is that when a lawmaker is confused on an issue, it’s your team they call. By taking these five steps to educate legislators about technology, you position yourself as the reliable expert on your industry to legislators and their staff so they know they can come to you with any questions or policy debates. [post_title] => When the Lobbyist Becomes the Teacher: Educating Legislators on Tech Policy [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => educating-legislators-on-tech-policy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-14 15:41:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-14 15:41:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=6361 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 1 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 6361 [post_author] => 23 [post_date] => 2022-01-21 21:01:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2022-01-21 21:01:48 [post_content] => Part of the beauty of the democratic process is that our elected representatives come from a diverse range of backgrounds and job professions. Before they assumed office, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was an astronaut, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) was a bartender, and Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA-8) was a video game developer. With this diverse range of former professions comes different areas of expertise from space policy, to labor policy, to technology policy. When elected officials are sworn into office, they must make decisions on a wide array of policy areas — anything and everything from agriculture to foreign policy— and we can’t expect them to be experts in every policy area. Since they’ll be legislating in areas outside of their comfort zone, they need to build the expertise necessary to make informed decisions. One of the areas where on-the-job education is critical is technology policy. For one, technology is growing fast, so even someone who came to Congress with expertise needs to proactively keep up.[stat align="right" number="18 million" text="number of U.S. tech jobs"] In addition, the scope of tech policy has grown. More than ever, technology policy intersects with other issue areas from national security to transportation to healthcare. Since tech policy impacts so many other policy areas, it is no longer enough for legislators to assign tech policy to a staffer to be their subject matter expert on all things technology policy. So how do lawmakers make educated technology policy decisions? They connect with lobbyists who are experts on both policy and the specific industry they represent and consult with them to make informed policy decisions. It’s equally as important for lobbyists to take the time to educate a legislator on their industry instead of skipping straight to lobbying, as it builds important trust between a lawmaker and the lobbyist. If a lobbyist skips straight to seeking to influence policy decisions without educating a lawmaker, it can prevent the lawmaker from becoming a champion of their industry. Educated lawmakers are key allies to lobbyists, advocating for their industry on a national scale and to their colleagues.

Why You Should Educate Legislators on Technology

You’ve probably seen viral clips from Senate and House committee hearings with the CEOs of Google and Facebook, where members of Congress struggle to understand what a “finsta” is or how targeted advertising works on social media. Part of this knowledge gap comes from the fact that this Congress is among the oldest in history. [stat align="right" number="61" text="average age of Senator in 117th Congress"]But more importantly, technology is an industry built on a breakneck speed of innovation, making it more difficult to govern than other policy areas as the industry is constantly changing and the implications of its work for the future isn’t always predictable. The technology sector accounts for a massive 12 percent of U.S. GDP and 18 million jobs. But the legislation used to regulate and govern the tech industry has not been updated at the same rapid pace. You’ve probably heard lawmakers talk about Section 230, passed in 1996, that states websites are not liable for content posted by third parties on their site. Since 1996, the internet has grown and evolved exponentially, especially with the emergence of social media, and now both Republicans and Democrats are calling for more comprehensive guidelines to regulate the internet and the tech industry as a whole to moderate and hold platforms liable for posts made on their sites by users. From the metaverse to Main Street, technology policy can be complex and require education to navigate and legislate. Here are five steps lobbying teams at tech companies can take to educate lawmakers on technology policy to help them make the right policy decisions:

How to Educate Lawmakers on Tech Policy

1. Proactively Communicate Industry Happenings With Legislators

The technology industry is growing and innovating at a more rapid pace than other industries. While your industry is your singular focus, it is just one policy area legislators need to keep up with. That’s why organizations that represent the tech industry, like Engine, share relevant industry updates and announcements via weekly newsletters to legislators and staffers their team meets with. Use a tool like Quorum Outbox, to identify and target your policy communications to key policy influencers that sit on committees covering tech policy or staffers that manage issues related to tech. These newsletters keep them consistently in the loop with your organization and industry’s advancements. By proactively engaging with key legislators and keeping them abreast of industry developments, you continue their education on your industry’s needs and build a relationship with them before you have an ask of them.

2. Brief Yourself on a Lawmaker’s Online Dialogue Ahead of Meeting

[callout align="right" heading="Turn social media dialogue into actionable government relations strategy" button_text="See how Quorum can help" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/social-media-government-relations-strategy/"] Once you’ve booked a meeting with a lawmaker to discuss tech policy, track their dialogue that mentions your policy area to get a better understanding of the legislator’s baseline knowledge. If their posts are inaccurate or show a low level of understanding, you can try to spend more time educating those members and correcting misconceptions. Or, if their posts are highly accurate on your issues, you can then adjust your meeting talking points to address policy issues at a more advanced level.

3. Create Customized Leave-Behinds

A legislator may be aware of the tech industry’s importance but may need help understanding the tech industry’s direct impact on their district. When meeting with a legislator, compose a leave behind that conveys how their district is specifically impacted through facts and figures that can help make the issue feel more tangible. A good leave-behind should include quantifiable data on the tech industry’s impact on the district of the legislator you meet with. This data can be anything from the number of your organization’s facilities within their district or the number of employees you have in their district.[callout align="right" heading="Four economic datasets you should include in your leave-behind" button_text="Learn how to map by legislative district" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/four-datasets-map-legislative-district/"] Leave-behinds provide physical materials legislators can reference and review when making policy decisions, boosting your chances for them to champion your industry. You can easily pull data that focuses on your industry’s economic impact on their district by using Quorum’s download center to build your leave-behinds.

4. Share Personal Stories from Constituent Advocates

Alongside the facts and figures in your leave-behind, you should also bring advocate stories from a legislator’s district to make your industry’s priorities personal to the legislator and their staff. To start, create a place on your advocacy website where advocates can submit stories on your industry’s impact on their personal lives. With a bank of stories stockpiled, you can easily pull firsthand accounts of your industry’s impact on a legislator’s constituents to share in your meeting with them. Advocate stories work because they put a face to your industry, as Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA-4) explained to Quorum, “When you hear a familiar city or even a familiar name from a particularly active constituent, that helps resonate with the congressman or congresswoman.” For the tech industry, these stories can be from an employee of your organization or a user of your product and how given policies would impact their day-to-day lives. [callout align="left" heading="Planning your next fly-in?" button_text="Read our guide for the key to success" button_link="https://www.quorum.us/blog/lobby-day-guide/"] You can share these stories in your meetings or bring constituents to a meeting through a fly-in, virtual call, or video of their story. These firsthand accounts of your industry’s impact help further educate legislators on what it means to work in the tech industry.

5. Utilize In-Person Events to Give Legislators a Firsthand Experience

There’s no greater way for legislators to learn about tech than seeing it for themselves, either through site visits or trade shows. If your technology company has a physical presence within a legislator’s district, coordinate a site visit when they’re in-district of your local facility to give them a first-hand experience of your organization’s involvement within the community. As explained by Walmart’s public affairs team member Matt Fitz-Gerald, site visits, “provide an opportunity to talk about something when they are sitting on our property and be able to show the effect of whatever that legislative thing is in a see, touch, and smell kind of way.” Site visits help further educate elected officials on why you are advocating for certain policies by allowing them to see for themselves. You should also strategically attend trade shows that have an annual high turnout of key policy influencers, like CES. Trade shows like CES give legislators the opportunity to see and try out new technologies for themselves, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the technology industry.

Conclusion

A key measure of success in building legislative champions is that when a lawmaker is confused on an issue, it’s your team they call. By taking these five steps to educate legislators about technology, you position yourself as the reliable expert on your industry to legislators and their staff so they know they can come to you with any questions or policy debates. [post_title] => When the Lobbyist Becomes the Teacher: Educating Legislators on Tech Policy [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => educating-legislators-on-tech-policy [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2022-04-14 15:41:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2022-04-14 15:41:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.quorum.us/?post_type=resources&p=6361 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => resources [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 1 [max_num_pages] => 0 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => 1 [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => 1 [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 6cd6d63ee12dbf507888adf76d62dd76 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )
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When the Lobbyist Becomes the Teacher: Educating Legislators on Tech Policy

When the Lobbyist Becomes the Teacher: Educating Legislators on Tech Policy

Part of the beauty of the democratic process is that our elected representatives come from a diverse range of backgrounds and job professions. Before they assumed office, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) was an astronaut, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) was a bartender, and Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA-8) was a video game developer. With this diverse range of former professions comes different areas of expertise from space policy, to labor policy, to technology policy. When elected officials are sworn into office, they must make decisions on a wide array of policy areas — anything and everything from agriculture to foreign policy— and we can’t expect them to be experts in every policy area. Since they’ll be legislating in areas outside of their comfort zone, they need to build the expertise necessary to make informed decisions.

One of the areas where on-the-job education is critical is technology policy. For one, technology is growing fast, so even someone who came to Congress with expertise needs to proactively keep up.

18 million
number of U.S. tech jobs
In addition, the scope of tech policy has grown. More than ever, technology policy intersects with other issue areas from national security to transportation to healthcare. Since tech policy impacts so many other policy areas, it is no longer enough for legislators to assign tech policy to a staffer to be their subject matter expert on all things technology policy.

So how do lawmakers make educated technology policy decisions? They connect with lobbyists who are experts on both policy and the specific industry they represent and consult with them to make informed policy decisions. It’s equally as important for lobbyists to take the time to educate a legislator on their industry instead of skipping straight to lobbying, as it builds important trust between a lawmaker and the lobbyist. If a lobbyist skips straight to seeking to influence policy decisions without educating a lawmaker, it can prevent the lawmaker from becoming a champion of their industry. Educated lawmakers are key allies to lobbyists, advocating for their industry on a national scale and to their colleagues.

Why You Should Educate Legislators on Technology

You’ve probably seen viral clips from Senate and House committee hearings with the CEOs of Google and Facebook, where members of Congress struggle to understand what a “finsta” is or how targeted advertising works on social media. Part of this knowledge gap comes from the fact that this Congress is among the oldest in history.

61
average age of Senator in 117th Congress
But more importantly, technology is an industry built on a breakneck speed of innovation, making it more difficult to govern than other policy areas as the industry is constantly changing and the implications of its work for the future isn’t always predictable.

The technology sector accounts for a massive 12 percent of U.S. GDP and 18 million jobs. But the legislation used to regulate and govern the tech industry has not been updated at the same rapid pace. You’ve probably heard lawmakers talk about Section 230, passed in 1996, that states websites are not liable for content posted by third parties on their site. Since 1996, the internet has grown and evolved exponentially, especially with the emergence of social media, and now both Republicans and Democrats are calling for more comprehensive guidelines to regulate the internet and the tech industry as a whole to moderate and hold platforms liable for posts made on their sites by users.

From the metaverse to Main Street, technology policy can be complex and require education to navigate and legislate. Here are five steps lobbying teams at tech companies can take to educate lawmakers on technology policy to help them make the right policy decisions:

How to Educate Lawmakers on Tech Policy

1. Proactively Communicate Industry Happenings With Legislators

The technology industry is growing and innovating at a more rapid pace than other industries. While your industry is your singular focus, it is just one policy area legislators need to keep up with. That’s why organizations that represent the tech industry, like Engine, share relevant industry updates and announcements via weekly newsletters to legislators and staffers their team meets with.

Use a tool like Quorum Outbox, to identify and target your policy communications to key policy influencers that sit on committees covering tech policy or staffers that manage issues related to tech. These newsletters keep them consistently in the loop with your organization and industry’s advancements. By proactively engaging with key legislators and keeping them abreast of industry developments, you continue their education on your industry’s needs and build a relationship with them before you have an ask of them.

2. Brief Yourself on a Lawmaker’s Online Dialogue Ahead of Meeting

Once you’ve booked a meeting with a lawmaker to discuss tech policy, track their dialogue that mentions your policy area to get a better understanding of the legislator’s baseline knowledge. If their posts are inaccurate or show a low level of understanding, you can try to spend more time educating those members and correcting misconceptions. Or, if their posts are highly accurate on your issues, you can then adjust your meeting talking points to address policy issues at a more advanced level.

3. Create Customized Leave-Behinds

A legislator may be aware of the tech industry’s importance but may need help understanding the tech industry’s direct impact on their district. When meeting with a legislator, compose a leave behind that conveys how their district is specifically impacted through facts and figures that can help make the issue feel more tangible. A good leave-behind should include quantifiable data on the tech industry’s impact on the district of the legislator you meet with. This data can be anything from the number of your organization’s facilities within their district or the number of employees you have in their district.

Leave-behinds provide physical materials legislators can reference and review when making policy decisions, boosting your chances for them to champion your industry. You can easily pull data that focuses on your industry’s economic impact on their district by using Quorum’s download center to build your leave-behinds.

4. Share Personal Stories from Constituent Advocates

Alongside the facts and figures in your leave-behind, you should also bring advocate stories from a legislator’s district to make your industry’s priorities personal to the legislator and their staff.

To start, create a place on your advocacy website where advocates can submit stories on your industry’s impact on their personal lives. With a bank of stories stockpiled, you can easily pull firsthand accounts of your industry’s impact on a legislator’s constituents to share in your meeting with them.

Advocate stories work because they put a face to your industry, as Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA-4) explained to Quorum, “When you hear a familiar city or even a familiar name from a particularly active constituent, that helps resonate with the congressman or congresswoman.”

For the tech industry, these stories can be from an employee of your organization or a user of your product and how given policies would impact their day-to-day lives.

You can share these stories in your meetings or bring constituents to a meeting through a fly-in, virtual call, or video of their story. These firsthand accounts of your industry’s impact help further educate legislators on what it means to work in the tech industry.

5. Utilize In-Person Events to Give Legislators a Firsthand Experience

There’s no greater way for legislators to learn about tech than seeing it for themselves, either through site visits or trade shows. If your technology company has a physical presence within a legislator’s district, coordinate a site visit when they’re in-district of your local facility to give them a first-hand experience of your organization’s involvement within the community. As explained by Walmart’s public affairs team member Matt Fitz-Gerald, site visits, “provide an opportunity to talk about something when they are sitting on our property and be able to show the effect of whatever that legislative thing is in a see, touch, and smell kind of way.” Site visits help further educate elected officials on why you are advocating for certain policies by allowing them to see for themselves.

You should also strategically attend trade shows that have an annual high turnout of key policy influencers, like CES. Trade shows like CES give legislators the opportunity to see and try out new technologies for themselves, allowing them to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the technology industry.

Conclusion

A key measure of success in building legislative champions is that when a lawmaker is confused on an issue, it’s your team they call. By taking these five steps to educate legislators about technology, you position yourself as the reliable expert on your industry to legislators and their staff so they know they can come to you with any questions or policy debates.

See how the Consumer Technology Association manages their lobbying strategy with Quorum