NATCA Holds First Basic Legislative Activism Class
Friday, December 17, 2010

On Dec. 6th and 7th, the NATCA Legislative Committee (NLC) met in Phoenix for the purpose of conducting NATCA's first Basic Legislative Activism class. The class doesn't officially go onto NATCA's training schedule until 2011; however, the NLC decided to conduct a 'beta' class to see how its class design played out in front of students. The class consisted of 10 students - one from each region. Most of the NLC was in attendance, as well as NATCA Director of Government Affairs Jose Ceballos and NATCA activists Dean Hall, Noel Kingston, Brody McCray, Linda McCray and Mitch Herrick.

The Basic Leg class is designed to take an activist who has little to no knowledge of legislative activism or the legislative process and give them a solid foundation upon which to build their careers as NATCA legislative activists. The goal of each class is to bring the students to a point where they can go back to their facilities and function as the facility legislative representative. Many facilities don't have a designated facility legislative representative which cause these duties to fall to the FacRep. However, FacReps have a lot on their plates. Since legislative activism is vital to NATCA's success, having a designated facility legislative representative who can concentrate primarily on facility legislative activities will make NATCA's grassroots machine even more effective. This class is meant to develop a cadre of legislative activists who are capable of functioning effectively as facility legislative representatives, much in the same way that NATCA's Basic Rep class gives activists a solid labor relations foundation.

The class is conducted over two full days. Instructors Steve Weidner, Grant Anderson and Mitch Herrick covered topics such as the legislative process and structure, NATCA's legislative structure, building relationships with members of Congress and how to use those relationships to NATCA's benefit, the Hatch Act, the conducting of facility congressional tours, basic PAC information and the NATCA PAC, and etiquette in various different legislative situations. Interactive exercises, such as mock congressional meetings, using your congressional directory, giving a report on one of the topics learned in the class, and legislative Jeopardy, were all combined with Powerpoint presentations and lecture to round out the two days.  

"This class was really intended to be a trial run," explained NLC Chair Steve Weidner of this month's event. "I didn't expect it to go as well as it did, but everything flowed great and the class was a big success."

He continued, "The students that attended this class were outstanding. They were sharp and motivated. They asked questions and participated enthusiastically. We really had a good group. I'm very excited about the future of NATCA's legislative efforts if these students are any indication of talent we have in the next generation." 

NATCA EVP, and former NLC Chair, Trish Gilbert was in large agreement in regards to the class's success. "We are extremely grateful to our legislative team in bringing this class to fruition," she shared. "Historically, our legislative activists have learned from veteran activists while attending NATCA In Washington, Rolling Lobby Weeks and In-District visits. While learning first hand -- by doing, and while being mentored -- is key, a course like this was long overdue." 

Once the Basic Legislative Activism class is firmly established, look for an advanced class to be implemented as well as online learning and tutorials. The Basic Legislative Activism class will be offered twice next year - at the beginning of April and the beginning of October. Check the NATCA training schedule for exact dates and locations.


Front Row (L-R): Steve Weidner (NLC Chair/Instructor), Tomaso
Dipaolo(NX NLC), Noel Kingston (former NWP NLC/Class Evaluator),
Brody McCray (former NNM/NLC/Class Evaluator), Ashley Snedeker
(ZID student), Kristena Jones (ZDC student), Mitch Herrick (MIA
Activist/Instructor). Second Row L-R: Marcus Tomlin (NAL NLC),
Adam Zazeski (ZBW student), Denise Spencer (NNM NLC), Linda
McCray (ZDV Activist holding Darwin McCray Activist-in-Training),
Lisa Stephenson (SFO student), Elisa Muise (NNE NLC). Back Row
  Bruce Conze (LA-ACO student), Grant Anderson (NCE NLC),
Richard 'Tiny' Fagg (NAL student), Ryan Burr (DSM student), Donnie
Martindale (AUS student), Chuck Vogel (NWP NLC), Dean Hall
(former NSW NLC/Class Evaluator), James Darlington (ZSE student),
Johnny Cearley (ZME student). Not pictured: James Keith (NSW NLC),
Bob Aitken (NX NLC).