Tony Pellegrino of Genright Off Road Headed to Sacramento as part of the annual lobby day efforts and came away with insight that other ORBA members will find helpful. Here is what Tony learned at the California State Capitol.

Recap from Tony Pellegrino’s day in Sacramento on April 17th 2012

  1. BOOTS ON THE GROUND. It was obvious to me that boots on the ground can be as effective or better than a lobbyist. Politicians like speaking with constituents! Another IDEA is to: Get groups of Jr. High or High School kids together for en evening here or there to blast the phones (or email) of the politicians in Sacramento from their cell phones (for some free pizza).
  2. Change key terminology to “MOTORIZED ACCESS” to help pull in the other key groups that have something to loose too! Fishing, Mountain Bikes, Camping, Hunting, Farming, etc. Unite and form a bi-partisan approach!
  3. We MUST get ourselves included earlier in the process! We need to be involved at the committee level of new bill creation. Most representatives and Senators feel if it made it thru “committee” then it is fine. To change or add verbiage after the fact is more effort than most are willing to expend! It is KEY to get in with or the support of a committee “chair”.
  4. The Extreme environmentalists are a SMALL but LOUD group! We need to be there to offset their voice or it is assumed there is no opposition. Squeaky wheel gets the grease!
  5. KIDS – I was told that “everyone over in the capital building” is doing what they do for the future generations (kids)! Come up with a way to demonstrate more examples.
  6. We need to point out that we are GOOD “STEWARDS” of the land! We need to brandish this more to help win support. We need to demonstrate some good examples of what we have done.
  7. MEMBERSHIP. Membership numbers are important to mention when speaking with politicians, it gets their attention! I think we need to push each individual family member who enjoys motorized recreation to sign up as a member! It helps put $ in our war chest and increase membership numbers! Example: I have XXX number of members in your district.
  8. HIRE a PR Firm. We need to get our message out too! Do it just like the Sierra Club, talk about how threatened our water quality is… to get people to donate and use the funds elsewhere.
  9. There are still politicians in office who are OUTDOORSMEN! We just have to find them… Show them out support is worth them “going to bat” for.
  10. Entertain other ways TO RAISE FUNDS to fight… Example: implement an annual “license fee” like the hunter & fishermen do.
  11. STAFF. Don’t forget a lot can be done through the politicians staff!
  12. California has the LARGEST OHV user base in the country!
  13. It seems like it is time to DISBAND the other land use organizations that are “muddying the waters” (United, BRC, etc.). We really need to organize and unite!
  14. STAY IN CONTACT! You need to stay in contact with the politicians and their staff at least 4x per year, so when you need them they know who you are! Many remembered me from the year before, again squeaky wheel.
  15. Politics is a TANGLED WEB! It is VERY difficult to know who is doing what, unless you stay in contact with these people.
  16. DO NOT RAMBLE. Keep conversations short and to the point. These people are very busy. Prepare a single hand out, with no more than 3 bullet points per visit. If they seem disinterested, ask them who they think could help and get an introduction.
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