November's election continues the shift of new faces in the Nebraska Legislature, with 11 new state senators.
There will also be two additions appointed by Governor Pete Ricketts to replace State Senators Murante and Watermeier, who were elected to other offices. (NOTE: If you reside in Districts 1 (Watermeier) or 40 (Murante) and wish to serve in the Legislature, you can apply by December 7, 2019 for consideration. more information can be found in the Governor's Press Release.
There is a lot riding in this next legislative session concerning the arts. Issues include funding for the Nebraska Arts Council and the public portion of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. The winning candidates will decide these and other issues impacting the arts.
Now is the time to begin the groundwork to introduce yourself and your programs to our state legislators. Here are some strategies to start now before candidates are sworn in:
Send a congratulatory letter - (USPS, not email). This letter should be tailored to the individual. Discuss your organization or business and and enclose information about your organization's upcoming events. Communicate an open invitation for them to visit or call upon you. Please contact Nebraskans for the Arts if you need an address.
Identify "Grasstop" contacts - Grasstops are your supporters who are also activists or members that have a high professional and/or public profile, may be part of the “political family” for a decision maker, and can raise public attention or influence decision makers through established connections. Begin to connect with these individuals so that they can help you request an in person meeting with elected officials.
Connect Socially - Invite an elected official and their family to your event or to another local arts organizations holiday event as honored guests. This is an opportunity to showcase the impact of the arts in your community. Recognize the elected official(s) from the stage and have your Grasstop supporter introduce the elected official to other VIPs at your event. Send a follow-up thank you note, wishing them good luck with their upcoming term.
Encourage Joining the Arts Caucus (Federal Officials) - Encourage your federal representatives to join the Congressional Arts Caucus so they can be kept updated on bills that impact the arts.