Grassroots activity key to AUSA legislative objectives

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

This report describes the lifecycle of AUSA’s grassroots work from the creation of the annual Association’s resolutions to the creation of the next set of resolutions.

The resolutions are produced annually and act as the basis for our legislative objectives for the year.

Chapters or individual members may submit proposed resolutions until July of each year.

The National Resolutions Committee membership, usually numbering about 14 AUSA members, is nominated by chapters and approved by the Council of Trustees.

The committee meets in Washington for three days before the Annual Meeting, and receives briefings from the Army staff.

The draft resolutions are voted on by the chapters and then are published and sent to every member of Congress, the media and opinion leaders – and they are posted on the AUSA Web site at www.ausa.org.

What is grassroots activity? The dictionary definition is: "Involvement in the political process by an elected representative’s constituent through contact with the elected representative or a staff member."

Why is grassroots activity important to AUSA? Well, much of the power of an organization comes from the number of members it has and what they are willing to do and what they stand for.

AUSA has over 100,000 members, but we don’t have the power and organization of a political party through which to funnel our legislative objectives.

Also, because AUSA is a non-profit, educational organization, it does not have a political action committee that can make monetary contributions which increase access to politicians.

What AUSA does have are those 100,000-plus members and the contact they can make with their members of Congress.

What are the keys to successful grassroots activity? Individuals locally who are informed about the issues, involved in the community and influential with community and state officials including the local congressional office.

Members and chapters may send letters to members of Congress, using the AUSA Web site or snail mail.

They can also visit the local congressional office, make speeches at local events to get the AUSA point of view out to influencers in the community or invite influencers to speak at AUSA events.

Letters to the editor and op-ed pieces are also ways to help foster AUSA legislative goals.

Activities like these also earn chapters a "Take the Hill" streamer.

AUSA national headquarters assists by producing a clear, coherent message through the resolutions and messages from the AUSA president, Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., providing information on the Web site, sending out legislative alerts, and engaging with members of Congress and their staffs in Washington.

We use the electronic legislative newsletter, published each Monday while Congress is in session, AUSA NEWS columns – like Capitol Focus, View from the Hill, Voice of Congress and the Bill Box – and the Legislative Action Center where prepared letters are available for AUSA members to send to their representatives.