by Greg Summerhays

Guest Blogger, Young Leader

Director of PR & Community Outreach, WCF

First reading, committee hearings, bills on hold, green cards, senate chambers, point of order, what does it all mean? If you find the legislative process as confusing and intimidating as I once did but want to understand how it all works and how to get involved, then you must attend the upcoming United Way of Salt Lake’s Day on the Hill.

Years ago I was working on the United Way Immigrant and Refugee Integration Initiative and needed to get involved with proposed legislation that could have hindered our work. I wasn’t at all familiar with the process but wanted to know how to navigate my way through the system in order to try and make a difference.  I attended the United Way Day on the Hill and was instructed on how the legislative process works, how to be an effective advocate and how to approach your legislator or senator. We were privileged to hear from lobbyists and legislators who shared with us best practices for effectively advocating for your cause.

Since then I have attended this event every year and continue to learn and make new connections. I have testified at several committee hearings, met with legislators and senators to discuss important issues, and have learned that you can make your voice heard. Knowing how the process works makes all the difference.

One of the best parts of the training provided by United Way is that you are not alone. It is great going over to the Senate and House Chambers as a group and meeting with legislators out in the hall to discuss important legislation. This process can be intimidating but when you are able to do it as a group there is far less pressure.

I hope to see you all on February 23 up at the Capitol.