Pillow Talk – Advocacy Tip #2 – Know Your Peers

by Perry Pillow, AATC Director of Government Affairs

Last month, we begin a series on ten timely tips that will give you the confidence you need to take on a municipal advocacy effort. Tip # 1 was: Know Your Stuff.  AATC will ensure you have the policy and political information you need to succeed.  Tip number two is: Know Your Peers

The people around you, the other volunteers and association government relations staffs that are attempting to work together to successfully communicate a common cause; really need to know one another.  It is embarrassing and frustrating to walk into a meeting and discover that each of your sidekicks is clueless or, even worse, have a completely different agenda.

To help you understand your advocacy team members’ strengths and weaknesses and to improve your chances of having a successful meeting with an elected official, you need to know the following:

  • Who is the best speaker?
  • Who is a good researcher?
  • Who lives in that elected official’s district?
  • Who does business in that elected official’s district?
  • Who can best influence?
  • Who is the best listener?
  • Who has the most relevant anecdote to illustrate the topic being discussed?
  • Who is open to compromise?
  • Who has a personal, social, business, or professional relationship with the elected official?

Always meet as a team prior to meeting with elected officials and determine who will talk about what and in what order. The more you know about each other, the better. Know your stuff; more importantly, know your peers.

COVID-19 – Local, state and federal governments have been in forefront of battling the COVID-19 crisis.  From shelter in place orders, statewide eviction ban, and the federal stimulus package, AATC, TAA, and NAA government relations teams are proactively engaged with government officials to ensure that our residents and employees are safe; our properties are open; our assets are maintained, and our financial obligations are met.  Our advocacy success during the COVID-19 crisis is based largely on the sustained efforts of our members and professional government relations staff to build strong partnerships with elected officials and government staffs.  We are reaping the benefits of the hard work put in by AATC members over the years to foster professional relationships with government officials.  Crises do not build character; crises reveal character.  Thanks so much to AATC’s leadership, owner/operators, and our supplier partners for all your hard work to ensure our employees, residents, and businesses thrive through this challenging time.  If you have any questions or concerns about our industry’s COVID-19 response go to www.aatcnet.org

2020 NAA ADVOCATE – In April, AATC leaders Nicolle Block, Candy Maxey, Jackie Cagle, Jason Busboom, Sherry Jordan, Michael Payne, Jeff Duerstock, and Patty Utley along with AATC staff members John Mitchell and Perry Pillow traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in NAA’s Advocate Conference.  AATC leaders met with the Tarrant County congressional delegation to ensure that our industry’s views are heard above the noise and chaos that engulfs hyper-partisan Washington.  On your behalf, this group aggressively advocated for changes in federal laws and regulations that impact your business including reforming the HUD Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program; investing in the nation’s infrastructure, emotional support animal fraud; and removing barriers to new-multifamily construction.

ADVOCACY TEAMS – Our Advocacy Teams are hard at work on your behalf in cities throughout Tarrant County. Advocacy team members meet and vet candidates for public office.  This personal engagement enhances AATC’s GAC & PAC trustees’ candidate evaluation process.  Advocacy teams host property tours, attend city council meetings, and engage in local issues that affect our industry. If you live, own, or operate properties in Arlington, Bedford, Burleson, Euless, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Haltom City, Hurst, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, our Advocacy Teams need you. If you know elected or government officials, our Advocacy Teams need you.  If you would like to be on an advocacy team, contact Perry Pillow at ppillow@aatcnet.org or (817) 616-0354.

ALL AATC SUPPORTED CANDIDATES WON – In the March 3 primary elections, all AATC PAC and NAA PAC supported candidates in Tarrant County won including congressional incumbents Kay Granger (R – TX 12), Marc Veasey (D – TX33 and Ron Wright (R -TX 6);  Republican candidate Beth Van Duyne (R- TX24); and Democrat Tarrant County Precinct 8 Constable Michael Campbell. AATC member Republican State Representatives Stephanie Klick and Craig Goldman are on the ballot, as well as, but ran unopposed.

2020 MAY 2nd MUNICIPAL ELECTION MOVED – Due to COVID-19, numerous Tarrant County cities (including Arlington) are moving their May 2 municipal elections to November 3.  Mayors and council members impacted by this move will serve until November.

Municipal candidates’ names will appear at the bottom of the November ballot.  This move will most likely diminish the vote for local government candidates and potentially inject partisanship into non-partisan municipal elections. Local candidates will struggle to get their name and issues heard in a presidential election.

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information, contact Perry at ppillow@aatcnet.org or call 817-616-0354.