who already have received the initial message.
Presentation Two, which cannot
be delivered until at least nine
months after the first presentation,
reiterates the importance of a
robust fleet, but also addresses the
concern for adequate Coast Guard
funding to complete the service’s
sweeping Deepwater modernization program in a timely manner.
“We’re pushing for $1.7 billion
in funding for the Deepwater program,” Hollstein said.
The Rocky Mountain Region
already has given Presentation Two
to one representative.
Dwyer said the message of U.S.
maritime supremacy resonates
across the board.
“What we’re really trying to do
with our presentation is to make a
very neutral — very bipartisan —
case,” he said. “It is not a Republican
issue; it is not a Democrat issue. It’s an everybody issue.”
There has been a learning curve for everyone, from
the national level to the local council.
“Actually getting scheduled to brief the MOC is a
daunting task,” Sullivan said. “Call after call has to be
made to local offices, and if you don’t stay after the task
it will not happen.”
“We discovered, as we implemented the National
Legislative Affairs program on a national scale, that
each region has its own individual culture,” Bras said.
“The culture dimension was an ‘added starter’ that we
really didn’t anticipate.
“To help each region get up to speed, we have developed a legislative affairs training program which educates
volunteers about the purpose, mission, MOC preparation, packaging, exhibits, etc. This training program is
available nationwide, on a face-to-face basis, teleconfer-ence call and individual training, when needed,” he said.
Conducting that training is William J. Waylett Jr., the
Navy League’s senior director of Regional Activities. He
offers workshops for both presentations to help prepare
Navy Leaguers “for an office call in the district office with
the member of Congress, to demonstrate the actual delivery of the presentation, to prepare them for possible questions and explain how to answer unanticipated questions,
to discuss follow-up activities and to share with them the
current status of the program in their region.”
Waylett noted that National President J. Michael
McGrath has urged all field leaders to schedule this
training and make these office calls.
Hollstein presents Nikki Jones, legislative director to U.S. Rep. Elijah
Cummings, D-Md., with a replica of Coast Guard training ship Eagle as Navy
League National President J. Michael McGrath, far left, and Coast Guard
Commandant Thad Allen look on. Jones accepted the honor on behalf of
Cummings, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, who was prevented
from attending the ceremony by an ice storm.
“Going forward, we anticipate we will have a new
presentation every two to three years,” with the appropriate workshops to prepare participants, Waylett said.
“If a council cannot make MOC visits in their area,
or even outside their area, we can approach a national
director who lives in that locale to make the call and/or
a corporate Navy League member who might have
political connections there,” Bras said. “Alternatives
are part of the training.”
Based on lessons learned, Branch and Ritter presented the “Grass Roots Best Practices” for success during
the 2006 Navy League National Convention.
Refined further since then, these best practices
■ Active involvement by each region president in
their Grass Roots effort.
■ Assignment of a highly regarded leader as the RVP who
is willing and able to spend the needed time each week.
■ Clear assignment of accountability to area or council officers for making the MOC visits early in the
■ Use of alternative guidelines for reaching MOCs as
early as needed, if areas or councils are either unable
or unwilling to make the visits.
■ Rigorous monthly follow-up by the RVP with those
assigned for making visits.
■ Completing region Grass Roots reports monthly and
sending them to region officers to keep everyone on track.
■ Appropriate support by headquarters staff for RVP
assistance and special projects. ■