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Posted on 12-21-2016
As someone who has taught political science to community college students for twenty years, I am always fascinated by how often what I teach intersects with what I do as a practitioner of the art of politics. To wit, the final essay question this semester was to choose a political myth covered in the course and explain why it is inaccurate and damaging to America.
A couple of essays analyzing the corrupting influence of interest groups caught my attention. Your GA team is the manifestation of chiropractic’s interest group in California. One of the liberties of this country is that people can join interest groups to promote their own economic well-being or to effect political and social change; believing that their goals are best served by acting together with other citizens.
The Complicated Business Of Access vs Influence
As a couple of this semester’s star pupils pointed out,
Joining an interest group to effect political and social change and accomplishing the interest group’s agenda of effecting change are two different things..
There are various levels of influence: there is access and then there is influence. Access involves getting into an office and getting in front of the appropriate people. Influence, however, is getting in front of the appropriate people and influencing how they feel about an issue. In most cases influence is driven by relationships - that human part of politics that respond to the belief that all involved parties have the same values and are looking out for the best interest of one another.
When interest groups are unified, their policymaking processes gain momentum. However, if interest groups lack unity on an issue it results in internal disagreements that often work against a group’s interest. Leadership that commands respect and can articulate and represent the issues are effective in pushing the group’s goals. Lacking such leadership, the interest group is ineffective in pushing those goals.
This isn’t simply my professional historical experiences, my students culled this information from their text book, documentaries, Federalist Papers, etc. I bring this up because next month marks my two-year anniversary with CCA and I feel I’ve learned a lot about chiropractic and the challenges it faces in California and nationally.
Finding Harmony Within Our Multiplicity
One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen is unity. Not unity as a state of not being multiple, but as a state of harmony. Chiropractic has so many business modalities to practice that we can’t avoid the multiplicity of the profession. Work Comp, Insurance, DOT physicals, cash practices, integrative health etc. are all phenomenal avenues to care for the health of Californians.
Our challenge as an interest group is to act in harmony: an interweaving of different accounts into a single narrative. Our board, staff, public affairs team, lobbyist, we’re all working hard to generate and implement harmony for our profession. Ultimately, we must find a way to accomplish this feat.
Acting individually, our voice and calls to action won’t be heard by the decision makers due to the drone of towering interest groups supporting corporations and wealthy individuals. However, by becoming a member of an interest group acting in harmony, we can increase our chances of being heard; understand the complex political system we are a part of; and effect the political and social change we desire.
Bill Shopping For 2017
Of course, a big element of effectuating political change is finding legislators willing to introduce legislation that would bring about that change. Monica Miller and I have been making the rounds at the capitol pitching our legislative proposals. Click here to check them out!
We’re way ahead of the curve on pitching legislation. What I mean by this is that most offices are full of boxes as legislators are being assigned new offices, newly elected legislators haven’t hired all their capitol staff, and some offices are simply bereft of staff entirely. All this is standing operating procedure in an election year.
Monica and I have been able to pitch our package to several offices on our short list of preferred legislators. Thus far, we’ve had no allergic reactions from staff to our proposals and couple were promising. We hope to have authors committed by late January.
The bill introduction deadline is February 17 and Monica already found a legislator willing to submit our proposals to Legislative Counsel for drafting them unbacked. That means the attorneys who turn legislative proposals into the legal language required, will do so without an author’s name on the bill. This allows us to avoid the deadline in January for submitting requests to Legislative Counsel, and allows for a quick amendment (put a legislator’s name on the bill) to beat the introduction deadline.
Arcane information on the legislative process, but a very important one for your GA team. Thanks to Monica for having friends willing to do us the favor of submitting our requests to Legislative Counsel.
2017 Legislative Conference – Get Off The Sidelines And Join Us!
This will all be done in time for our annual Legislative Conference on Tuesday, March 7. For more details, click here.
Did I mention that Leg Con is FREE this year to CCA members? Well, it is! We plan to have a big agenda to lobby, so we need a big turnout as always. Can’t wait to see you all in Sacramento March 7.
Time For Reflection As 2016 Comes To A Close
We thought it might be fun to run a “Best-of-Cris’Corner” over the holiday week as a kind of retrospective of the year in GA. With 50 Corners to choose from it wasn’t easy to find five that would provide a snapshot that would do justice to a year’s worth of work, but we think we did ok. So, each day next week you’ll receive a Corner in your email and get to take a trip down memory lane.
Looking forward to 2017! Thank you everyone, you know who you are, for everything you’ve done and will continue to do to help your GA team protect and enhance chiropractic in California. Have a great holiday everyone!
Want to respond to what you just read? Just look below for the comment box. I encourage your feedback and questions.
I look forward to hearing from you.
2016 California Chiropractic Association. All rights reserved. Please do not disseminate in part or whole without prior permission. Questions or permission to disseminate? Contact Cris Forsyth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Chris for all you do for this profession. You and Monica are doing a great job and keep us informed through the Corner. Happy Holidays to you and all the CCA staff and enjoy some well deserved time off.
Thank you for continuing to help me sort out the (to me) convoluted nuances of achieving legislative success.