NAAE Executive Director
Election Year: A Great Time to Build Relationships
Summer and fall of an election year … what does that mean? It means your legislators will be spending more time in their home districts and states doing campaign events. This creates a wonderful opportunity for agricultural educators to meet with their legislators at home and work on building those ever-important relationships.
Here are a few suggestions for you to build relationships with your elected officials in their home districts and states.
Invite them to attend an agricultural education event or to visit your program. Especially in an election year, if you invite them, they will come, or at minimum, send a staff person, and that is very valuable. Be sure to ask them to do something specific when they visit (speak to classes, speak at the FFA banquet or other FFA event, present a U.S. flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol to the FFA chapter or the school). Be sure to coordinate this with your school administration.
Attend a town hall meeting or event the legislator schedules. Take some FFA members (in official dress) with you to the public forum. Prepare your students to ask questions about agricultural education or career and technical education. Remember that the issues important to your local community are the issues important to your elected officials.
Visit with the elected official or staff in their local office. During the last push to election, legislators will be spending more time in their district and state offices. You do not have to travel to Washington, DC to meet with your elected officials. Meet them at home!
If you are involved with your state’s advocacy plan, work with your state leaders to set up a statewide in-district visitation program. Distribute key messages to your agricultural education colleagues and plan district or state office visits as an association. This can be an enjoyable event to coordinate and it can reap great benefits for agricultural education in your state.
The advocacy tools section of the NAAE website and the NAAE Legislative Action Center are terrific resources for you to use to connect with your state and federal elected officials. By simply entering your zip code in the “Contact Congress” block on the NAAE website homepage, you can access biographical information, contact information in DC and home state or district offices, key staff names, committee assignments, and a wealth of other information. You can also send e-mail directly to them or print letters you can fax to the offices. We invite you to take advantage of this resource provided to you by NAAE and the National FFA Alumni Association.
If you have questions about any of these ideas, contact Jay Jackman, NAAE Executive Director, by e-mail or by calling (800) 509-0204.
Dr. Larry Case Announces Retirement
In early May of this year, Dr. Larry D. Case, U.S. Department of Education Senior Program Specialist for Agricultural and Rural Education and National FFA Advisor, announced that he will retire at the end of this calendar year. NAAE congratulates Dr. Case on his 45 years of service to agricultural education at the local, state and national levels.
The NAAE board and staff will be engaged actively in encouraging the United States Department of Education to fill this important position. Further, NAAE will encourage the department to select a candidate who is highly qualified and eager to provide leadership to the school-based agricultural education profession. Agricultural education needs leadership at all levels, and this federal appointment is the keystone to the leadership structure for our profession.