Learning Objectives: Demonstrate how with effective, high energy community organizing, the tobacco prevention movement can beat more powerful opposition forces at their own political game. Describe how coalitions composed of powerful organizations outside the tobacco control community can often achieve tobacco control objectives that are beyond the reach of traditional tobacco prevention coalitions. Explain how with limited resources, tobacco prevention organizations can recruit and maintain thousands of active policy advocates throghout the state.
Abstract: This panel will assist those involved in policy advocacy and enforcement strategies to plan and execute winning campaigns. Advocacy, communications and coalition staff plus volunteer campaign leaders should attend. Coalitions with ambitious policy change agendas, and those who have suffered defeats and want to taste victory will also benefit.
Three campaigns – a tobacco tax increase in Utah, protecting MSA allocations for tobacco prevention in Colorado and defeating a MSA securitization proposal in West Virginia – will demonstrate the power of community organizing strategies within the tobacco prevention movement.
Diversifying the coalition and the campaign message beyond the scope of tobacco control is central to all three victories. In Utah, an innovative strategy of recruiting advocates in rural communities and supporting them with face-to-face contact by local PTA leaders shifted attitudes among rural legislators towards the tax. In Colorado, educating women’s and related health groups about the impact of tobacco use on women’s health, led to a women’s health coalition opposing the Governor’s raid on the state’s tobacco prevention program to fund cancer treatment for indigent women. In West Virginia, the coalition recruited 15 major health groups with active memberships who were not involved in tobacco issues to oppose the Governor’s securitization plan. The intense grassroots lobbying campaign focused on healthcare, but also protected the state’s tobacco prevention program.
Panelists will assist the audience in applying the winning strategies by detailing the composition of the non-traditional coalitions which wielded so much influence, and the innovative grassroots mobilization techniques.
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