Senate in Session During GAC Hill Visits

Eight ways to make a good impression on legislators during your GAC Hill visits.

February 18, 2015

The U.S. Senate will be in session during the Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC), bolstering credit union leaders’ advocacy efforts with legislators during visits to Capitol Hill.

“Efforts to reach out to Congress during the GAC will be strong despite the release by the House majority leader of a schedule showing the House out of session during the conference,” CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle says.

“The Senate will be in session during those dates, and key House and Senate staff members will certainly be on the Hill,” Nussle adds. “Our meetings with these professionals have traditionally been very valuable.”

Make a good impression on legislators during your GAC Hill visits by following these tips:

  • Be prepared. Know the representative’s stance on the issues and tailor your materials and conversations appropriately.
  • Strategize. Decide a plan of attack and the desired outcomes. Appoint a primary speaker, a manager to keep your meeting on topic, and a secretary to take notes.
  • Practice professionalism. Dress appropriately. Show up early. Introduce yourself confidently. Plan for meetings to start late and take longer than expected.
  • Value staff. They’re essential in the legislative process and might be more informed than legislators on a specific issue.
  • Stay on point. Focus on no more than three issues. Explain how a law, rule, or policy specifically impacts people in the district. Don’t discuss elections and donations.
  • Listen. Passion for an issue often leads to more talking then listening. Be concise, then pay close attention to responses from representatives and staff.
  • Solicit insight. Ask supporters, “How can we as constituents move this issue forward and support your stance?” Ask nonsupporters, “What can we as constituents do to make this an issue you can support?”
  • Keep the ball rolling. Publicize your visit on social media and though other communications. Send a thank-you note. Encourage supportive representatives to rally other legislators, and to write an op-ed for a newspaper.

Help us promote your visits to Capitol Hill by using the #CUNAGAC hashtag on the images you post to Twitter. Follow us at @CUMagazine for extensive conference coverage.