Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ten things you can do in 2006 to support historic preservation at the federal level

[Source: Heather MacIntosh, President, Preservation Action] -- If you are interested in helping strengthen historic preservation at the federal level, consider these top ten ideas:
  1. Get people in Arizona to join Preservation Action.
  2. Make an appointment with your Representative and Senators at the closest district office. Bone up on the issues by visiting Preservation Action’s website.
  3. Get to know your state historic preservation officer. State preservation officers have tons of helpful information, especially if you’re planning a trip to see your legislators.
  4. Come to Washington, DC! Lobby Day is March 14th this year, and is a great opportunity to learn more about the policies alongside fellow preservationists.
  5. Accumulate examples of projects, past, present, and potential that could be supported by federal tax credits, federal programs, or federal regulations. For example, how was a fabulous, award-winning project in your community funded? Any federal tax credits or other federal funding involved? Share this information with Preservation Action.
  6. Look out for opportunities for Preservation Action to speak during your state preservation conference, and work with us on what federal issues people in your state would be most interested in hearing about.
  7. Get to know your legislators. Your relationship with officials representing your state or district can make a huge difference when push comes to shove in Congress. You don’t need an “alert” to make the first move. Invite your legislators to an building opening, an organizational party, or any event that will help showcase the relationship between federal support for preservation and local projects.
  8. Read. Read our weekly updates, but also pay attention to what you read in the press about what’s happening in Congress. We at PA read a lot -- Hill reports, email from Hill staffers, committee reports, testimony, newsletters, you name it -- but we can’t read your local newspaper, which might include something that could help us be smarter, better advocates.
  9. Support preservation advocacy at the local level. All advocacy is interrelated. An active base of local citizens concerned about threats to the local community are often the best spokespeople for federal policy because they can very easily draw connections between local funding needs, practices, and regulations and federal funding opportunities, criteria, and regulations. The trick is to help local advocates make the connection – we can help, just ask us.
  10. Be passionate. Effective advocacy requires passion checked by good information and strong support from your community (that includes preservationists everywhere). Legislators will forgive little mistakes in your delivery if you demonstrate a commitment to your community -- through your support for protecting and reusing the best of it’s past. You should never be intimidated by federal policy, politics, Congress, or the idea of lobbying.