IDF Volunteer Jenny Gardner knows that persistence pays off. February 1, 2011, she was invited to a private ribbon cutting at the local office for newly elected Congressman Allen West in West Palm Beach, FL. Jenny put a lot of time into building a relationship with Congressman West prior to the elections, which puts her in a great position to be influential in the future. Jenny made an effort to meet all the legislators in her area prior to the elections. She attended an event at her Church called Power Lunch, which afforded her access to speak with various legislators. Jenny also made a point of looking up information on each person prior to meeting them so they should would have an “in” something that they had in common or something to talk about with them to better help the person remember her later. In the case of Congressman West, Jenny talked with him about her brother who shared a similar military background with the Congressman. Making a personal connection and going to see the Representative again at local Town Hall meetings, Congressman West came to recognize Jenny and learn about her concerns with IVIG Access.
Congressman West introduced Jenny to two of his aides and instructed them to help her with anything she needs and get him involved to make sure it happens. The Congressman has committed to personally meet with Jenny and other Florida constituents on IDF’s Advocacy Day later this year. Jenny’s experience illustrates the importance of building relationships with policymakers in order to be influential. Because she worked to keep rapport with him and attend events in her district, Congressman West knows Jenny and will work for her on Capitol Hill.
To learn more about how to be an effective advocate, please check out the IDF Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit
Please let IDF know if you are involved in any Community in Action activities in your community. Comment below or fill out the Contact form at the top of the page to have your story featured in a future blog post. To learn more about ways you can get involved, please visit the website at www.primaryimmune.org .