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on May 8, 2004
I think we all know that lobbying is a great way to make change... but it is only great if you are effective. This week I had the opportunity to go to Washington DC to lobby on Capitol Hill and receive some great training. One of the trainings I was fortunate to have was Lobby Day Training by Christopher Kush. Having had many trainings I can easily and confidently say that it is the best lobbying training I have ever had. I have never learned so much about little things that make such a big difference so quickly. After the training I went back to my hotel room where I looked over the book and took some notes. (Granted I did not read the entire book because I got to my room at 10:30 and had only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before.) After looking over the book and getting some sleep I found myself on the Hill the next day. My day on the hill was amazing... it was so successful! As many times as I have been on the hill I think that was the most successful. It was amazing. I received so much support. Since my visits I have returned home and have read "The One-Hour Activist" front to back. It is a great book with so many key things that really help in making your visit so successful. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in making changes through policy.
Thanks for all of your advice Chris!
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"The One-Hour Activist" is a useful volume on how to advance your/your organization's political agenda. As the Preface says (Page ix):

"This is a tactical guide, not a civics class.

This is a book of action--a book you will put down to write, call. to meet with your elected officials or to engage in any of the twenty powerful grassroots actions explained in this book."

The author, Christopher Kush, sees this book as a tool for "Democracy in Action," the title of the book's Introduction.

Is this a fool's errand? Can political involvement actually make a difference? The reality is that it depends on your goals. . . . If you want to transform the system to create direct, participatory democracy, where "Power to the People" is the ruling credo, probably not. If you want to affect--even incrementally--government action, then the answer is that such grassroots involvement can have an impact. The question: Is that enough to justify such involvement in the first place? Lots of questions, eh?

The heart of the book is a series of 20 actions, most of which can be undertaken without an undue investment of time. The categories of action are five in number. A few words about each.

"Gather information and strategize." Information is important in the world of politics and decision-making. First, who is it whom you wish to influence? Are there already existing groups that you can join to amplify your voice? How do you analyze proposed legislation? How do you conduct the dread opposition research?

"Contact your local elected officials." There is, believe it or not, academic research that suggests that contacts with local officials (elected or bureaucratic) can have an effect. Is that effect enough to satisfy all? That's a separate question. Simple tactics like writing a compelling letter or e-mail are in play. Persuade others--create a group--to act. The more people making suggestions/demands to officials, ceteris paribus, the more likely to get a hearing.

"Get involved in elections." Pretty straightforward. To the extent that elected officials make a difference in policy, affect who is making those policy decisions.

"Work with news media." There are a variety of ways of using media for political muscle, including a simply letter to the editor.

Finally, a section on "Super-Powerful actions that take a little more time." Arrange a face-to-face meeting to present your case to an elected officials; testify at a public hearing; take part in protest activities (realizing that there might be some consequences); and so on.

If you want radical change, the preceding are unlikely to affect things. If you accept the way the system operates and want to have an impact within those confines, then this book can be a useful guide.
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on June 8, 2004
This book was simply inspiring and a definite pleasure to read. I was granted the pleasure of attending a session that was facilitated by Mr. Kush, and reading his book is just like listening to his powerful words again; the book is really that great! The One-Hour Activist has content anyone can enjoy, whether you're a newcomer to grassroots activism or a longtime activist. I learned very much from this book and it kept me reading from front to back- Kush writes the book in such a way as if he were speaking to you. After reading The One-Hour Activist, I felt motivated and compelled to take this book's advice in action. Go out now and buy this book!
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on August 8, 2005
I found this book to be a useful, practical "insider's guide", written by someone who clearly knows what they are talking about. It filled in some gaps in my knowledge, even though I live and operate within the political system in Australia (much of the book focuses on the American political system). It was not difficult to extract information and apply it to my own setting, and has really opened up a whole swag of ideas for me. It is well-written, succinct, and does not beat around the bush. A thoroughly enjoyable book.
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on January 20, 2014
This book gives great insight to the political system of a great democracy. It is a must read for citizens, labor leaders, and organizers because it is packed with valuable information and guidance on how to get your elected leaders attention. You'll better understand the importance of text based communication over phone calls, and why online petitions are not so great. Your address as a constituent is critical to elected leaders listening to you. Learn about the grassroots star of influence and the 5-key points that must be applied to get things done. When you're done don't sell this book or give it away. KEEP IT IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT LIBRARY!
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on June 26, 2005
For those of us who see the system as the problem being asked to cajole our elected candidates to our point of view seems useless to say the least, for instance how do you get a corrupt official consider reform, etc. Living in a state dominated by one party or the other tends to make these methods a bit moot, however if your issue(s) are simpler and offer the candidate less to lose, say getting funding for MS this book is immensely helpful.
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on November 8, 2015
Needed this book for my social work policy class and wasn't looking forward to reading it because of the nature of the class but I actually ended up really liking it. It's an easy read and the author doesn't make you work hard at all to understand what he's saying. He make's things relatable as well and will convince you to begin advocating. If you're interested in getting involved in macro social work or just making your voice/position known about policies to your representatives, then get this book!
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on February 17, 2013
I am a professional lobbyist and this is the first book I have found that actually describes what I do when I'm doing my best work. I retread this book once or twice a year and attended on of Mr. Kush's sessions in Washington. I use it regularly when working with clients on their sessions with legislators and encourage them to buy a copy of the book. I have used other books he has written as training tools with clients. I can't recommend this book enough.
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on November 5, 2015
A basic primer for the citizen to be involved in the political process at all levels. Every citizen should have a copy of this book and learn how to use it. I am a Democratic Precinct Committeeman and purchased these books for my constituents use.
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on November 1, 2007
This book was recommended for additional reading. It was short and easy to follow. There are worksheets to help with organization. These work sheets are also available online for reprinting.
This is a great resource and saves time.
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