Chandler Keys, Hill Staff Talk Relationship Building, Trust and MillennialsThu, 08 May 2014 10:20:38 CDT
“If you're not participating in democracy, you're going to get whacked," said Chandler Keys of the Keys Group at the 13th annual Stakeholders Summit which began this morning in Arlington, Va. Keys moderated a panel of hill staffers including Joe Williamson (Legislative Director to Congressman Cory Gardner (R-CO)), Alexandra Igleheart (Legislative Assistant to Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX)) and Grant Colvin (Policy Analyst for the Senate Agriculture Committee), this morning at the Summit themed "Cracking the Millennial Code."
Keys and the panelists discussed how engagement on the Hill has evolved over the last several decades, the most pressing agriculture issues facing legislators today and how to discuss and lobby for your issues effectively with members of Congress.
“Some of the hottest issues of our day are consumer-centric. To be successful you need to appreciate that not everyone has an immediate understanding of what your issues are and why those are important," said Colvin who encouraged Summit attendees to "find ways to participate and position yourself as a resource."
Inglehart and Williamson echoed Colvin's comments, noting that millennials, in particular, have limited attention spans.
"I can't go two minutes without checking my phone," quipped Williamson. "You need to adjust your traditional logic to appeal to a younger generation."
Though Keys emphasized that the issues on Capitol Hill may change, the pattern of how you do things--how you engage-- remains the same.
"Start off with the basics, don’t walk in there dropping acronyms," said Keys. "Don't start at a course level 400. You're better off starting with your 100 , or maybe even remedial. Start with the basics, it helps you to understand our industry better.”
Echoed Inglehart: “Understand that things on the Hill don’t move all that fast, you need to start small and build up those relationships. Start by pitching an idea and build up from there.”
To learn more about this session and other sessions taking place during the Stakeholders Summit, please visit the Alliance website.
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