For more than 100 years, GFWC members have raised awareness of specific issues requiring attention at the national level through their advocacy efforts. GFWC member’s advocacy efforts are practical not political. Our GFWC advocacy seeks the implementation of constructive solutions to problems that are national in scope and regional in impact. Our efforts can change lives! GFWC members worked to pass laws affecting highway safety, juvenile justice, women’s suffrage, the rights of the disabled, equal pay for women, resources for victims of domestic violence, and penalties for domestic abusers. GFWC members must continue to use public advocacy to seek solutions to local, state, and national concerns.
During the 2020–2022 Administration, the Legislation/Public Policy Committee will be “Gathering Facts & Working for Change.” The goals of the Legislation/Public Policy Committee during this Administration include:
- Encouraging participation in the Legislative Action Center.
- Educating members about GFWC’s legislative priorities.
- Educating members about the local impact of civic engagement.
- Mobilizing our members to raise a united voice to advocate for GFWC and national priorities.
- Building relationships with the local, regional, and national decisions makers.
- Establishing the GFWC name as a brand that lawmakers and the community recognizes.
THE GFWC LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER: A DIRECT LINK TO CONGRESS
The GFWC Legislative Action Center (LAC) is the primary tool that GFWC uses to educate and mobilize its members. Members who sign up for the LAC receive updates on specific legislation GFWC is supporting. These updates let members know when to contact their national legislators about a bill. Additionally, if a State Federation provides GFWC with at least 72 hours’ notice, GFWC can send out a legislative alert to that state’s members regarding one or more pieces of state legislation. To realize the full potential of this tool, however, members must sign up for the LAC. Sign up for the LAC by going to the GFWC website (GFWC.org), clicking on the “Public Policy” tab, and then clicking on the link that says, “Take Action.”
RESOLUTIONS AND ADVOCACY
GFWC advocates for or against an issue only if a resolution on the issue has been adopted by its members. Resolutions can be found on the GFWC website at www.gfwc.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ResolutionsJune-2019-FINAL.pdf. Resolutions are tools members should use to advocate and educate about important issues at the local, state, and national levels. If a subject is not addressed by a resolution, members cannot use GFWC’s name to advocate for or against the issue but may advocate as concerned individuals. If members feel an issue needs to be addressed by GFWC, any local club can submit a resolution for consideration to the Resolutions Committee. Every resolution currently in effect started with a proposal to the Resolutions Committee.
Here is a list of Advocacy “Do’s and Don’ts” to ensure that your State Federation or local club stays within these guidelines:
- Advocate for action on a specific issue or for a specific piece of legislation.
- Contact your national, state, and local elected officials directly. • Participate in voter registration drives.
- Hold nonpartisan forums to educate the public about one or more specific issues.
- Sponsor candidate forums, ensuring that all candidates receive a formal invitation to participate.
- Give only facts when referring to or speaking about a specific candidate or incumbent.
- Educate candidates on GFWC’s resolutions and legislative priorities.
- Use the GFWC emblem when advocating on a GFWC-endorsed issue.
- Endorse or oppose a specific candidate or political party.
- Use club funds, facilities, in-kind donations, publications, or events to promote a specific candidate or political party.
- Ask candidates to sign a pledge on any issue.
- Offer opinions about an incumbent or candidate.
- Support legislation that conflicts with a GFWC Resolution.
* A State Federation that takes a position in conflict with any GFWC Resolution must register a minority opinion with GFWC. If a State Federation takes legislative action on an issue that reflects this minority opinion, it must make clear that its position does not represent that of GFWC.