With the political climate in the nation and the upcoming presidential election at the forefront of the American collective consciousness, some may be asking “What can I do?” and “Where does my voice count?” As a member of ACSA, you have many avenues within the organization that can be utilized for your personal participation in the political sphere. As we previously discussed, ACSA’s PAC can be part of your approach to activism. Here we will delve deeper into the Political Affairs and Strategy team’s plan for the future of ACSA PAC.

WHY?

Why should I voluntarily contribute to ACSA PAC?
ACSA PAC is like a reservoir of political potential; the deeper the pool, the more challenging it is for your opponents to tread water. By setting aside funds for specific political purposes, ACSA is able to plan ahead and create a strategy for political success. The funds in the PAC are used for supporting candidates who are politically aligned with ACSA and working with legislators to impact policy within the Capitol, among many other uses. ACSA’s intent to protect the best interests of children, and the administrators who serve them, is bolstered by the PAC in the political arena.

Why does ACSA need a louder political voice?
The Governmental Relations team has done, and will continue to do, amazing policy work in the Capitol but advocacy should be viewed like a three-legged stool, where effecting change via policy is only one leg. The other two legs are grassroots work and political action. If a leg is missing, the stool will topple. A successful advocacy plan utilizes all three pillars in order to achieve success. With the newly formed ACSA Political Affairs and Strategy team, the voice of ACSA will grow stronger and more strategic through carefully thought out political action. In the ever-changing world of education politics, it behooves ACSA to have the strongest voice it can.

Why is contributing to the PAC an effective use of my money?
ACSA PAC acts as a megaphone for the voices of administrators across California and the country. Generally, PACs are a way for employees and association members to aggregate their small individual donations into one reserve, so they can compete with interest groups with donors that make large financial contributions. ACSA PAC is most effective when the majority of members voluntarily contribute – by joining forces, ACSA members are more powerful.

WHEN?

When can we expect to see the impact of our donated dollars?
If you know where to look you can see the impact of ACSA dollars easily – Legislative Action Day is made possible in part by ACSA PAC, and our annual and biennial candidate endorsements are also possible because of the PAC. ACSA PAC contributions to initiatives such as Proposition 30, which voters approved in 2012 and taxed California’s millionaires, and the California Children’s Education and Health Care Protection Act of 2016, which will provide the extension for the Proposition 30 millionaires tax, provide the opportunity for ACSA to leverage resources and relationships by working in solidarity with other education and health stakeholders. In short, our partnerships with interest groups and legislators alike are amplified by the PAC funds, especially when they are used strategically and with purpose. Finally, ACSA’s advocacy is expanding beyond California and into the federal sphere. This year, ACSA invested in a federal advocate to support our members’ interests and create the opportunity to engage congressional members.

HOW?

How will the long-term political plan be implemented?
Over the course of the next several election cycles, many legislators will be termed out (they will reach the term limit of their current seat), culminating in 2024, when more than a dozen legislative seats will be open. This means ACSA will have many opportunities to get involved with candidates whose ideals are aligned with ACSA’s. It is the goal of the Political Affairs and Strategy team to seek out and work with individuals running for office who have the potential to be allies to public education and ACSA once they are in office.

How will this strategy improve ACSA’s policy work in the Capitol?
As was mentioned above, political and policy work go hand in hand – both are more successful when they are coordinated and part of one overarching advocacy plan. ACSA will work through our leadership team, including our ACSA Board of Directors, Vice Presidents for Legislative Action, Committee Chairs and Council Presidents and state and region leadership to implement an advocacy plan that engages the members of the Legislature in traditional and contemporary strategies. ACSA will create both year-long and long-term plans that create opportunity for advocacy, use the expertise of our members effectively in Sacramento and build relationships within each ACSA region.

If you have any questions, or want to know more about the PAC, please reach out to Sarah Monte at smonte@acsa.org.

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