What should government relations professionals be doing now to initiate their advocacy work with the Trump administration? Start with these tips from Ellen Fern, managing director of Washington Partners, LLC, and John Segota, CAE, associate executive director for public policy and professional relations at TESOL International Association.
1. Understand the new policy landscape. Review the policy proposals, not only from the Trump campaign, but also in the Republican Party platform. Ask yourself: What issues do they address? What plans do they present for their policies? And what issue areas have clear positions and policy proposals? Pay attention to the kind of language that is used as well. All of this can guide how you frame your issues and craft your messaging to the new administration.
2. Study up on the president’s appointees. Focus on their areas of expertise, where they previously worked, and what type of sub-appointments they make. Understanding their backgrounds will provide a more complete picture of their policy priorities and how they will lead their agencies.
3. Connect with new officials. Try to meet with new agency staff in person. If an appointee hasn’t been confirmed yet, maintain connections with civil service staff who execute on the agency’s day-to-day work.
4. Read between the budget lines. Actions speak louder than words, and so do budgets. Pay close attention to any major policy changes that happen in the first 100 days. But also be patient. It may take time for some policy proposals to be addressed. Initial indicators usually reveal themselves in the administration’s first budget proposal.