Advocacy… Is it worth my time?

Posted by Doug Knauss at 09/15/2023

by Doug Knauss, CPRP, CPSI, Park & Recreation Director, Susquehanna Township

How many times have you received that email from the PRPS office asking to lend your voice towards a legislative issue and you wonder why should I do that and will it really make a difference.  I thought the same way before becoming involved in the Government Affairs Committee and the simple answer is “Yes.” 

The big thing is that you have or hopefully have a relationship with your local state representative and senator, you need their support for grants and come to your events.  They represent the same people you do in your position and if a legislative issue arises that will affect your service to yours and their constituents then yes it can make a difference.  It may take a while to effect the change or correct a policy but your voice can help with the effort. 

The key to remember is that you are the expert in your field in your community and a legislator may only be getting some or part of the information to make a decision.  You can articulate the issue and how it will affect you and your served constituents.  My experience has shown that legislators want to be informed and do not want to vote blindly on a piece of legislation. 

For a recent example of this in action is there are multiple pieces of legislation right now that are about to be introduced that will have either positive or negative effects on the profession and PRPS has been able through the years to position itself with the work of the Government Affairs Committee, Tim Herd, and Steve Stroman your Legislative Liaison that now before bills are formally introduced we are at the table to discuss concerns, or advise what the impact will be and propose changes to the legislation to make it work for the profession and practitioners.  We as professionals are called upon to speak to staff of the legislators, or committee staff to propose these changes, ideas, concerns, etc. to better educate the staff and legislators.  So yes, your voice matters!

So do not become or be one of the silent majority and throw your hands up and say oh well, make that call, send and email, or a letter and give your opinion and help yourself and your profession.

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