Creating A Winning Legislative Campaign: The Colorado Story
Colorado’s passage of SB191, the Centennial State’s groundbreaking teacher quality and accountability legislation, was even more impressive because it happened during an election year, and was passed by a Democratic legislature and signed by a Democratic governor. For those who scratch their heads about how this came about, have a look at this fascinating Democrats for Education Reform brief. In it, Scott Laband, a key legislative aide as the bill made its way through the statehouse, identifies the strategic steps taken to pass SB191: find strong and credible leadership, get the policy right, build a powerful coalition, coordinate broad-based advocacy, and control the message. Within each of these five broad steps, Laband details specific actions calculated to boost the odds of victory. Some are straightforward (e.g., identify a smart education-policy expert). But others are so smart they almost feel like political insider trading. For instance: Interlock the bill’s critical provisions so tightly that none can easily be amended out. Or: Rotate political cover, allowing some sponsors to vote with their party bloc on certain amendments sure to pass. The brief ends with a sample press release, editorial, fact sheet, and bill language—all geared to helping buttress future education-reform legislation. A must-read for politicos and policy wonks alike.
Scott Laband, “Creating A Winning Legislative Campaign: The Colorado Story” (Washington, D.C.: Democrats for Education Reform, March 2011).
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