Notes from the Executive Director - January 2023

January 30, 2023

Screenshot of a tweet our Racial Equity Committee Chair, Sarah Myhre, posted of her dog during our 2022 Board Retreat.

It’s a new year and the start of a new legislative session. I thought it would be important to give a sneak peek at what our process looks like for us at Futurewise when we are preparing for session. We spend the summer and fall laying the foundation for this important time. The first day always brings hope and anxiety; it is the moment when we see the groundwork pay off.

Since our founders passed the Growth Management Act in 1990, we’ve been engaged in state legislative advocacy. In recent years, we’ve focused on growing our state advocacy team, adding a State Organizer position in fall of 2020 and increasing our communications capacity this session. We’ve recruited a great new group of board members for our legislative committee that meet with our staff team every week. Everyone at Futurewise is chipping in. It’s part of an organizational move towards more dynamic, collaborative work instead of relying on individuals heroically striving alone.

Each year we commit to bigger legislative goals, learning from the last cycle and developing innovative approaches to the unique strategic challenges of the coming year’s policy priorities. This approach has paid off with the passage of groundbreaking housing legislation in 2021 and then, in 2022, the closing of a loophole that had allowed illegal development on farmland and wildlife habitat for decades. This year, we are harnessing that capacity for missing middle housing, transit-oriented development, and climate mitigation and adaptation.

Building a stronger state legislative team has allowed us to be better partners with other advocacy organizations and with legislators. It’s also allowed us to build more paths for supporters around the state to get more directly involved. Just as no individual staff member can do it all, Futurewise is a more effective organization when we work in partnership. This year, our coalitions are ideologically diverse, bringing together unlikely allies, united around common goals. We don’t have to agree on everything to work together.

I’m proud of everything we’ve done to get here. We are going to give it everything we have and learn from every step along the way. This year more than ever, to pass these consequential bills, we need your help. Please sign up for our legislative email list, sign in “pro” for our bills at the upcoming hearings, and talk to three friends about why these policies are so important and how they can get involved.

I feel hopeful. I hope you do too. Now it’s time to win.

Alex Brennan.