By The Hill Staff - 05/21/09 05:31 PM EDT
Running an effective grassroots lobbying campaign is about more than sending e-mails. Staff in-boxes are too full and messages are too easily deleted. But making sure members know that the people back home care about a particular issue can make or break a lobbying campaign. The trick is to combine an activated grassroots network with representatives in Washington who can personally explain to members and their staff the real-world consequences of legislation. The support of their own grassroots networks combined with their own legislative acumen give the following people an edge as they fight for their causes on Capitol Hill.
Anna Aurilio, Environment America. Aurilio is a ubiquitous presence on Capitol Hill. If Congress passes a climate change bill, some credit will be due to her tireless advocacy.
Matt Bennett, The Third Way. Bennett and his group try to find common ground on which to advance progressive causes.
Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group. Cook has challenged the orthodoxy that biofuels are by definition good for the environment.
Chris Cox, National Rifle Association. Cox knows how to use the group’s broad grassroots power to block gun control laws.
Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense. Ellis and his watchdog organization tirelessly comb bills to uncover the fleecing of America.
Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers. Gerard and the Steelworkers are not afraid to mix it up in Washington but get kudos for making nice with environmental groups on climate change.
Bradley Gordon, American Israel Public Affairs Committee. A former staffer and CIA analyst, Gordon is part of one of the most effective lobbying teams in town.
Dave Hamilton, Melinda Pierce, Sierra Club. Hamilton and Pierce help make sure the Sierra Club’s extensive membership is well represented in Washington.
David Hawkins, Natural Resources Defense Council. Few voices on climate change are as respected as Hawkins’s.
Wade Henderson, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. Henderson has shown a broad reach with his civil rights group, pushing for key labor priorities like the Employee Free Choice Act.
Elisa Massimino, Human Rights First. HRF’s CEO and executive director is vocal about a non-partisan inquiry into the harsh interrogation tactics of military detainees.
Meredith McGehee, Campaign Legal Center. A widely respected expert on campaign finance and ethics legislation.
Monica Mills, Bread for the World. Mills is an effective advocate on Capitol Hill for anti-hunger programs.
Randall Moody, National Education Association. Moody and NEA’s lobbying team won support for a record amount of school funding in the stimulus package this year.
Matthew Myers, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Myers stepped in when Bill Corr joined the Obama administration. He may just get to preside over the group’s biggest victory: Food and Drug Administration regulation of tobacco.
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council. Perkins and his group will serve as a conservative Christian counterweight to the president’s judicial nominees and pro-abortion rights policies.
Ron Pollack, Families USA. If it’s got anything to do with healthcare, expect Pollack to be right in the thick of it. As the head of this liberal advocacy group, Pollack is one of the mainstream left’s primary voices.
Alan Reuther, United Auto Workers. The UAW will always be in the discussion as Washington and Detroit look to restructure the automotive industry.
Anthony Romero, American Civil Liberties Union. The legendary civil rights group has kept the torture debate going.
John Rother, AARP. The senior citizens’ lobby boasts of a massive war chest and an army of highly motivated activists and voters. Rother is the field marshal on Capitol Hill.
Bill Samuel, Thea Lee, AFL-CIO. Samuel and Lee’s experience and connections make them among the most effective lobbyists in town.
Ray Scheppach, National Governors Association. Scheppach is a wise Washington hand that helps all 50 governors.
Melanie Sloan, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Sloan and her watchdog group have not let up with a Democrat in the White House and even defended lobbyists from the administration’s tough new restrictions.
Andy Stern, Dennis Rivera, Service Employees International Union. Though neither are traditional lobbyists, SEIU President Stern and Rivera, head of the union’s healthcare division, are major players in two of the biggest issues in D.C. this year: the Employee Free Choice Act and health reform.
Jeremy Symons, National Wildlife Federation. NWF has worked hard to expand support for a climate change bill beyond the traditional environmental community.
Elizabeth Thompson, Environmental Defense Fund. Thompson is constantly working on finding the right recipe for moving climate legislation forward.
Fred Wertheimer, Democracy 21. Wertheimer, long-time campaign finance guru, has pushed for tougher ethics reforms from the administration.