Colorado Senior Lobby
We focus on issues and promote beneficial legislation, while remaining strictly non-partisan and not supporting any specific political party or candidate.
Who we are; What we do.
Colorado Senior Lobby’s Mission is to educate the public, community leaders and elected officials on the issues that impact the wellbeing of older Coloradans.
Colorado Senior Lobby brings together all ages of Colorado citizens from older adults and retirees to adult children in the middle of caring for their elderly loved ones, to professionals serving older adults, and college students looking towards a career of service.
Colorado Senior Lobby’s four decades of service helping our members and the community at large to learn and engage and make an impact on public policy and resource allocation on behalf of older Coloradans is well-known under the dome of the Capitol and with other organizations focused on our aging population. Your involvement is a critical piece of our democratic process. Many of Colorado’s older adults/seniors want to make a difference, not just vote for someone different.
Clearly, yesterday’s solutions will not fix tomorrow’s problems – and that includes public policy. We live in an age of constant and rapid change in technology: self-driving cars, drones, robotics, smart phones, Alexa-type interfaces, computers and 3-D printing. These are more tools that can be used by older Coloradans to help make better public policy.
For CSL, advocacy and “lobbying” are one in the same. When we lobby, we are advocating for (or against) public policy issues that impact older Coloradans. There are many steps involved in effective advocacy, and CSL volunteers may select one or more of them as their way to be involved:
- Researching policy issues for CSL to proactively promote and providing that research to those who make regular appearances at the Capitol to be senior advocates/lobbyists.
- Providing research on legislation proposed by our state senators and representatives – finding the facts, uncovering problems before they become real issues.
- Showing up at our Legislative Committee meetings to discuss policies and legislation.
- Being an active lobbyist for CSL (or yourself) at the Capitol. Here are a few tips:
- Introduce yourself to legislators and staff. Make appointments to talk when possible.
- Be prepared!
- FOCUS ON:
- Problem being solved with the piece of legislation being discussed
- Bring personal perspective (your own is best, but that of another is good too)
- Understanding both sides of the issue and the key points of each (very important in preparing to give testimony in case there are questions form committee).
Advocacy and Lobbying during COVID:
COVID-19 is keeping us out of face-to-face meeting with legislators and going to the Capitol in person. For 2021 we have moved to zoom meetings and electronic outreach such as email and newsletters. Plan to attend one of our Monday morning Legislative Committee Meetings to learn more about how we are engaging with Colorado legislators during COVID.
More about Legislative Committee Meetings
More Tips on Advocacy/Lobbying:
Be respectful of legislator time, both in informal meetings and in committee meetings. If you send a legislator and email, make is short and to the point.
- When practicable, focus on the legislators from your own district and how people in that district will be impacted by a bill. Numbers are helpful in this regard – numbers of people impacted, dollars, cases, etc.
- Educate as needed – the key points you want them to remember.
- Understand that legislators are very busy in the last few weeks of the session, in particular. Get acquainted with key people early in the session, when they have more time.
- Know that each legislator may introduce five bills in each session, occasionally more. (This is well over 500 bills each session!) Bills are drafted over the summer or fall and must be in the hands of Legislative Legal Services (LLS) by November. (LLS actually writes the bills, which requires knowledge of existing statutes, experience, and legal skills.)
- Leadership of each house assigns legislators to particular committees. Legislators typically request particular committees and may get what they ask for (or not).
- Each legislator has a part-time aide who is restricted to 800 hours per session. These are typically very young and ambitious people with a strong interest in politics/public service who are paid $12/hour. They can help get access to their boss. Be kind to them.
If you leave something with a legislator to read, make it eye-catching.
- Remember that everyone likes food/sweets.
Giving Testimony at Committee Hearings:
- Know your key points and those of the opposition
- Be yourself – imagine you are talking to one person
- Make your point, tell a story that supports it if you have one, provide supporting numbers, and stop talking. (It’s like selling – when you’ve made the sale, stop selling and close the deal.)
CSL recognizes the value of diverse perspectives and experiences and fosters a work environment reflective of the community at large. Volunteers are critical to achieving CSL’s mission of educating people to become engaged citizens. Training is provided by CSL members and volunteers.
Learn more about Volunteer Opportunities
Join or Donate to Colorado Senior Lobby Today – CLICK HERE
“The issues of the pandemic really shown a light on the socio-economic disparity in health and for different races.”