The Foreign Service Journal - December 2013 - page 44

To determine if a program is
working well, a few questions
need to be asked. At AFSA’s
advocacy department, we
ask ourselves: Are we doing
what is needed to raise the
issues that matter to our
members? Is Congress
listening to AFSA? Are we
getting the results we seek?
Ou r B i gges t As s e t
While AFSA can reach out
around the clock to members
of Congress, our biggest
asset in getting their atten-
tion is you, our members. The
most effective strategies for
influencing those on the Hill
must include direct messag-
ing from their constituents,
and for AFSA, that means
messages from the Foreign
Service community. We need
We work hard to establish
and maintain relationships
with members of Congress
and their staff from both
sides of the aisle. We seek
to find common ground with
those who share our inter-
ests and have supported the
Foreign Service in the past.
Our objective is to expand
these relationships while
establishing new ones that
will, in turn, support us.
According to a 2012 sur-
vey conducted by The George
Washington University of the
American League of Lobby-
ists and congressional staff,
the most important determi-
nants for gaining access to
members of Congress are:
an existing relationship with
the member or staffer; the
reputation of the individual
seeking the meeting; and
having previously worked for
the legislator.
Fortunately for our mem-
bers, AFSA’s advocacy team
can claim all of the above
advantages, and we use them
whenever we can. Our goal
is to inform senators and
representatives of the press-
ing concerns you have and to
build a coalition of legislators
who will work on your behalf.
Keys t o Su c c es s
Through AFSA’s Govern-
ing Board meetings, liaison
with our vice presidents,
discussions with AFSA staff,
meetings with Hill staffers
and keeping abreast of cur-
rent events, the advocacy
team is on point when it
comes to the big issues. But
again, our efforts need your
input so that we can focus on
In the Middle of the Aisle
“We in America do not have government by
the majority. We have government by the
majority who participate.”
Thomas Jefferson
the issues and problems you
Your outreach to mem-
bers of Congress—be it
through social media, a letter
or a phone call—educates
and can influence them on a
matter that could ultimately
bear positive results regard-
ing your job, family and even
your life. Hearing from you
can connect a policy issue
to your legislators’ need to
serve their constituents.
They are there to serve you;
give them the opportunity.
Sha r e You r V i ews
Don’t underestimate
the impact we can make
together. By letting us know
what your concerns are, we
can accomplish much. We
invite you to share your views
or concerns by e-mailing
Advocacy Director Javier
Cuebas at
Legislative Assistant David
Murimi at
or Assistant Coordinator
for Retiree Counseling and
Legislation Matt Sumrak at
. We are
here for you.
AFSA State Vice President Matthew Asada and Governing Board State
Representative Nancy Rios-Brooks speak with Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas,
at an event celebrating National Hispanic American Heritage Month at the
Department of State on Oct. 9. The event was sponsored by the Hispanic
Employee Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies, an affinity group with which
AFSA frequently collaborates.
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