After 22 years of state legislative advocacy, I will be absent as a lobbyist in the 2019 Iowa Legislative session. In its stead, I will be available full-time to provide nonprofits with advice and support through my business Scott Advocacy and Consulting, LLC, which I established in Fall 2016. Besides lobbying, my past nonprofit services have included grant writing, organizational planning, advocacy training, and policy research and development.
My lobbying efforts included one short and one very long experiences. In the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions, I had the pleasure of being a contract lobbyist for the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Together with Iowa-AAP members, I advocated for improvements in children’s physical and mental health, childhood vaccinations, child obesity prevention initiatives, gun safety, and reducing the effects of childhood trauma.
From 1997 to 2016, as executive director for Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, I lobbied for legislation and funding to enhance Iowa’s child abuse prevention efforts. During that time, our advocacy led to creation of a statewide shaken baby syndrome prevention program, a child sexual abuse prevention task force and initiative, creation of an income tax checkoff for child abuse prevention, increased appropriations for the Iowa Child Abuse Prevention Program, and laws to address the dangers of meth manufacturing.
I described my approach to lobbying in a March 2018 blog post for Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, titled “Long-haul Advocacy: Adopting a long-term, sustained advocacy approach to effective child health systems change.” The post highlighted the importance of building partnerships and relationships, honesty, and having a long-term perspective and recommended that aspiring long-term advocates:
- Approach long-haul advocacy humbly – recognizing the limits of your expertise, the wisdom of others, and the inevitability of mis-steps along the way
- Identify individuals and organizations with which to build constructive relationships and deepen your subject matter expertise
- Read more broadly to better understand the larger context impacting the specific change you seek
- Become familiar with a broad range of research and opinion, including resources that may question or challenge your policy goals
- Grow your policy advocacy expertise by taking advantage of the myriad toolkits that organizations offer
- Identify the key decisionmakers with which to engage, how to follow their activities, and potential points of connection