Educating vs. lobbying

Educating

All employees and volunteers should educate and inform decision makers about University of Missouri Extension.

We can communicate:

  • What we do
  • Why we do it
  • Why we do it
  • How we do it
  • What difference it makes

These communications should be from the viewpoint of the receiver and connect to that person’s particular interests and concerns (i.e., “What’s in it for me?”). Educating is our business and is everyone’s job.

Lobbying

Lobbying involves communication and interaction to influence a legislator or decision maker to make a particular decision on specific legislation. While lobbying by most University faculty and staff is not allowed, a few University employees are registered to serve as lobbyists. Additionally, MU Extension council members and other non-employee volunteers are allowed to lobby on issues related to the University.   

Testifying before a legislative committee or commission

On occasion, University of Missouri Extension faculty members are asked by members of the Legislature to testify before a legislative committee or commission. This invitation usually is the result of recognition on the legislators’ part that the faculty member has particular expertise in an issue that is being discussed or considered for legislation. If you are asked to testify before a committee or commission, first review MU Extension’s Guidelines on Testifying Before a Legislative Committee or Commission (PDF)
Missouri House of Representatives Witness Appearance Form (PDF) for appearing before a committee

Points to remember

  • Policymakers have all the talents and shortcomings found in the general population.
  • All politics are local.
  • While politics are often partisan, our purpose in educating policymakers about extension resources and impacts is not.
  • Representative government and long-range planning are often conflicting ideas.
  • Term limits make it imperative to educate legislators on a continuing basis because experience, history and relationships are lost more quickly. In Missouri, no officeholder can serve more than eight years in either the House or Senate.

(Adapted from University of Minnesota Extension Service)