First, happy new year.
In real estate the top three factors are location, location, and location.
In political transactions the top three factors are relationships, relationships, and relationships. If we want to get the attention of Senators and have them address issues that are important to us in 2015 and beyond, we must develop meaningful relationships with them. Developing meaningful relationships with anyone takes time, but developing relationships with senators is even more of a challenge. Senators have many gatekeepers. In effect, unless you are a big donor, a big company from the state, a powerful constituent from the state, head of a political action committee, a relative, or a longtime family friend, your chances of meeting directly with a senator one-on-one is probably one in 10,000. You need to earn such an opportunity.
Let's consider some of the initial steps we could take.
1. Focus on the chairman and ranking Democrat on committees dealing with health, education, employment, housing, transportation, human rights, and benefits. If you are from one of these states from which these senators come you have a leg up. Constituents are not ignored. But even so, you need to develop a reason for such Senators to interact with you on a ongoing basis.
2. Visit the Senator's website, read newspaper articles, checkout what the Senator is sharing on Facebook and Twitter. What are you looking for?
The Senator's priorities
The Senator's concerns
The Senator's past record on issues
Legislation that the Senator has sponsored
Legislation that the Senator has cosponsored
What do you do with this information? Look for connections to issues that are important to you or consider how you can CREATE a connection to issues that are important to you. Here is one example. Most Senators support initiatives that benefit disabled veterans. How can you use that fact to broaden a Senator's interest/support for initiatives that benefit more people with disabilities?
Here's one piece of data to get you started: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/227175-senate-gop-announces-new-committee-assignments
I am very excited about 2015. Let's work together to make sure in political terms it pays off for people with disabilities.