United for Libraries President’s Program to focus on relationship building with lawmakers

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/04/2019


Trish McFadden

Program Coordinator

United for Libraries

American Library Association



EXTON, Pennsylvania — The United for Libraries President’s Program, “How to Hug a Porcupine: Relationship Building with Lawmakers and Why It’s Important,” sponsored by the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, will be held Sunday, June 23, 1 to 2 p.m. at Washington Convention Center, 147B.

Brad Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, will discuss how to build relationships with elected officials and effective communication tactics. Libby Post, President/CEO of Communication Services, will moderate.

Building relationships with elected officials can sometimes be difficult and uncomfortable. It forces you and your key stakeholders to get close to politicians in ways that may feel “prickly” – like hugging a porcupine. This program will help participants overcome that discomfort, revealing the methods and benefits for building relationships with elected officials. Participants will learn: who members of Congress and state legislators listen to; what congressional staffers believe are the most effective communications tactics for influencing undecided Members of Congress; and how to conduct effective in‐person meetings, influence legislators at town hall meetings, as well as effective advocacy in the state/district.

Fitch has spent 25 years in Washington as a journalist, congressional aide, consultant, college instructor, Internet entrepreneur, and writer/researcher. He began his career as a radio and television reporter in the 1980s. He began working on Capitol Hill in 1988 where he served for 13 years. He worked in a variety of positions for four Members of Congress, including: press secretary, campaign manager, legislative director, and chief of staff. Fitch left Congress in 2001 to work for the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF). As deputy director of CMF, he served as a management consultant for Members of Congress, offering confidential guidance, conducting staff training programs, and writing publications on enhancing the performance of individual congressional offices and the institution. He left CMF in 2006 to form a new company, Knowlegis, in affiliation with Capitol Advantage. Knowlegis is now a part of CQ-Roll Call Group, where Fitch served as a vice president until 2010 when he returned to CMF. He has taught journalism and public communications at American University in Washington, D.C, where he served an adjunct associate professor of communications. He received his B.A. degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University and his M.A. degree in journalism and public affairs from American University.

For more information about United for Libraries programs at the ALA Annual Conference, visit http://www.ala.org/united/events_conferences/annual.

To register for the ALA Annual conference, visit www.alaannual.org.

Ways to stay in touch and get updates include: Annual Conference website, Twitter (@alaac and #alaac19) Facebook Events, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association with approximately 4,000 personal and group members representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. United for Libraries supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries, and brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. To join, please visit www.ala.org/united or call (800) 545-2433, ext. 2161.