October Executive Director's Note

October 30, 2023

For Our Future lobby day, Feb 2023

On November 8 we will be kicking off our legislative campaign for the 2024 session. Over the last few years, we have had great legislative success, passing major land use policies that address our state’s biggest challenges with housing (HB 1220 and HB 1110), climate change (HB 1181), food systems and habitat conservation (SB 5042). There are a lot of reasons that we’ve made progress on these issues recently after years of trying, but the most important reason (and the reason that doesn’t get enough credit) is you.

You and thousands of other advocates from across the state showed up to make your voices heard on these issues. You signed in pro on bills at committee hearings. You emailed your legislators. You talked to your friends and neighbors about why these issues are important and got them involved.

Starting with the 2021 legislative session, at Futurewise we modified our theory of change to put you at the center. We hired a State Organizer to make it easier for you to engage in state legislative advocacy and we are increasingly incorporating organizing into our local advocacy efforts across the state. The organizing work complements our deep policy expertise and knowledge of the inner workings of the state legislature, so that we can help you be strategic in how you make your voice heard.

The outcomes speak for themselves. Prior to 2021, we were averaging about 180 Futurewise supporters sending emails to legislators during session. In 2023, 1,789 of you sent emails, a 10-fold increase. And that’s just emails driven directly through our own software. We have also provided organizing support to coalition partners to drive thousands of additional emails on our priority bills. The local government committees in both chambers used to only get a handful of pro and con sign-ins on legislation, primarily from paid lobbyists. Now we regularly see over 2,000 pro sign-ins on our priority bills. We are also able to make sure that this advocacy is statewide (we had active supporters in all 49 legislative districts last session) and strategically concentrated in the legislative districts of key decision makers on the issues we care about.

This coming session we are further building out that capacity by hiring 3 campaign interns who will be ready to work with you to deepen engagement across the state. I hope you will join us on November 8 to learn about new legislative opportunities and find ways to engage yourself and your community in fighting for a better future for our state.