Lobbying doesn't have a great reputation, but the University of Illinois Springfield hopes to help change that Friday, with a seminar teaching the ins and outs of the practice. The day-long seminar "The Third House: State Lobby Essentials" will have speakers ranging from lobbyists to university faculty.
Barbara Van Dyke-Brown, director of legislative internships and advocacy programs at UIS, expects the $300 seminar to attract both beginners and experienced lobbyists who are looking to master their craft.
"Generally, we attract people who are getting into it for the first time or have been lobbying on their own," Brown said. "There's a variety of folks who attend, like general citizens who are part of organizations or even people who want to know how it all works."
Brown said it was important for the seminar to feature an array of speakers from different political backgrounds to show that lobbying is important no matter the political viewpoints.
"It's important to have a balance reflected on the agenda," she said. "We try to line it out and talk about the basics on what it means to lobby, then we go into strategies and tactics, and it's all lobbyists who are presenting. It's very practical."
This marks the first time in six years that UIS has presented the seminar, but Brown hopes to have the campus host it annually.
"We do have a focus at the university on public affairs," she said, "and it's a good fit and makes sense."
Polly Poskin, executive director of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault and one of the speakers, said lobbying is an essential way for a person's voice to be heard.
This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on January 26, 2017.
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