Are you aware of the role building codes and state laws play in supporting our ability to deliver sustainable design and construction in Minnesota? COTE Advocacy is dedicated to training AIA members who care about sustainable architecture but may not be policy experts (and/or may not be interested in becoming policy experts) to meet with legislators and other officials about key policies and programs.
What does the COTE Advocacy group do?
- Help develop AIA Minnesota’s policy positions related to sustainable design.
- Participate in policy meetings.
- Assist with other outreach.
Who attends policy meetings?
- You, an AIA Minnesota member who can speak from the perspective of architectural practice.
- A legislator who is working on a bill that may impact the profession, or a leader within a state, county, or local agency whose work impacts the profession.
- AIA Director of Advocacy Sheri Hansen and our AIA lobbyist join as well, especially if you are new to meetings like these.
- Typically 2-3 meetings throughout the legislative session (January to May), but you can put in as much or as little time as you have available.
- There are also meetings with agency staff and some legislators during the rest of the year, to address ongoing administrative issues or prepare for the next legislative session.
What will we talk about?
- The purpose of the meeting is often to tell a policymaker why you support (or do not support) an upcoming piece of legislation or an administrative rule or regulation.
- Talking points will be prepared by AIA Minnesota staff and discussed ahead of time.
What is the format?
- Brief, informal, 20-minute meetings with legislators or agency leaders.
- You offer your perspective, and they might have some questions.
- Since the onset of COVID-19, most meetings with legislators and agency staff have moved online.
- This is likely to change back to in-person meetings in 2022, with some taking place at the Capitol complex and some in the districts of individual legislators.
- AIA Minnesota staff will assist with locations, parking, and getting to meeting rooms as needed for in-person meetings. They will also take responsibility for scheduling, finding times that work for you.
Are there other ways to advocate?
- AIA Minnesota members are occasionally asked to provide testimony for committees. AIA Minnesota staff will draft testimony with you, and handle all logistics to help you succeed with testimony if you are asked to provide it.
- AIA Minnesota may also ask you to send emails or make calls to legislators on pressing issues during the session.
Why you? To an elected representative or an agency leader, your voice as a constituent carries weight, and as a subject matter expert in the area of architectural practice, you offer a unique professional perspective. These low-pressure, brief meetings can make all the difference in helping decision-makers understand how to support climate action in the built environment and sustainable design practice.
When you join COTE Advocacy, you’ll have opportunities to build your skills in legislative communications and share your expertise with decision makers throughout the year. You can put in as much or as little time as you have available.
Email Sheri Hansen to be added to the Slack channel and join the team.