Legislative Listening Guide Great Tool for Public Value Strategy to Building Support Among Elected Officials

Apr 30, 2012

The Montana Arts Council’s venerated executive director Arlynn Fishbaugh has executed at a high level her agency’s strategy of taking a public value approach (written about here in the NPAC website) in positioning the Montana Arts Council. The agency’s blueprint, or strategic plan, demonstrates the application of this public value approach.
Montana’s bipartisan support of the Montana Arts Council (MAC) is proof in action of what Jonathan Katz has written about moving beyond party affiliation:
The party affiliation of decision makers is not determinative. Leaders of the same political party that slash the SAA budget in one state urge investment in the arts in another state. The real driver in today’s political mix is an official’s preconceptions about government and the arts.
One important step in MAC building this bipartisan has been one-on-one meetings with key legislators (such as those on the Legislative Finance Committee). The Montana Arts Council created discussion guides for those meetings with thoughtful questions designed to elicit what matters to the individual elected officials. MAC then uses that information to tailor future communications to the individual elected officials. Informally dubbed Legislative Listening Tours, MAC’s Board and staff conducted the interviews in a process that also involved thoughtful pairings of Board members with specific legislators based on jurisdiction, party affiliation, etc.
The Montana Arts Council shared their excellent, annotated discussion guide. It is a useful tool for organizations, particularly those who receive public support, in taking a public value approach to their work and for building support among elected officials.

Image: Ferdinand Hodler [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tags: Montana Arts Council, Public Value, Listening Sessions, Legislative Listening Sessions

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