29 Jul The WVMA Advocacy Program: Advocacy vs. Politics
By Attorney Jordan Lamb, DeWitt LLP
The 2020 elections are just months away and we are starting to see many political commercials and election press coverage. At the same time, the WVMA Advocacy Team is gearing up to represent our members before the Wisconsin State Legislature when they go back into session in January 2021. So, what is the difference between our “advocacy program” and “politics?” Let’s start with a review of the Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions.
According to Merriam-Webster, “politics” means: “(a) the art or science of government; (b) the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy; and (c) the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government.” It is the third definition that most people would use to describe “politics” – the art or science concerned with winning an election.
In contrast, Merriam-Webster defines “advocacy” as “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal; the act or process of advocating.” When the WVMA communicates with state officials who have been elected or appointed, we are advocating for the support and preservation of the veterinary profession in the State of Wisconsin – regardless of who won the elections.
Our program is guided by the principle that, “We advocate for the best interests of the WVMA membership.” We work in ANY political environment and with BOTH political parties. In addition to the State Legislature, we are intimately involved with communicating with state agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Department of Natural Resources, because they oversee various aspects of the veterinary profession.
Most importantly, our advocacy program is separate from the politics of our individual members. But, participation by individual members in our advocacy efforts is KEY to our advocacy program’s success!
You – Wisconsin veterinarians and veterinary technicians – are the experts on your profession and on your businesses. Please continue to share with us challenges that you are facing in your businesses, especially during these uncertain times. Our advocacy program is the link between you and the 132 legislators in Wisconsin (i.e., 99 State Representatives and 33 State Senators) who will vote on changes to state law that will affect your businesses.
Our strong advocacy program is based on the WVMA being a trusted resource for the Wisconsin Legislature to call upon to provide insight into how state issues can affect the health and vibrancy of our Wisconsin veterinary businesses. As the gavel comes down in January, and as the new state legislative session begins, we are ready to continue to be a strong ADVOCATE for you – our members.