Beginning January 1st, 2020, more than 500 duly elected Legislative Representatives will take their oath of office to serve our great Organization. They have chosen to faithfully serve their membership as SMART-TD officers in the areas of workplace safety, legislation, public representation and retirement issues.Many will be first time LRs with little or no knowledge of what the position entails. That’s perfectly OK. Every experienced and effective LR began with little or no idea as to how he or she should execute the duties of the job. Know this: The LR is a very important position. All active and retired members depend upon his/her LR to serve them.
Nearly every issue an LR discovers or engages has its origins at the local level. As an LR identifies and progresses through finding remedies to local problems, they will find that these issues are not exclusive to just one location. Most issues that an LR must tackle exist across our industry and nationwide. This is why working as a team and becoming a teammate locally and within the SMART-TD hierarchy is vital as we render service to the membership.
How does an LR begin performing the job?
First and foremost: Have a positive mindset. Do not be scared or intimidated. I promise: YOU GOT THIS. There are many successful styles and approaches. Find one that fits you and your skill set. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and make it a point to improve upon both.
It is imperative that an LR contact his or her State Legislative Director as soon as possible after taking office. It is the LR’s responsibility to have a functioning relationship with the State Legislative Director. Conversely, it is the responsibility of every State Legislative Director to have a functioning relationship with every LR in their state. If an LR fails to establish a working relationship with their State Legislative Director, there are two persons at fault.
Newly elected LRs are encouraged to be proactive and find a mentor to help. Experienced LRs coming back to serve another term absolutely need to become a mentor and make it a point to help others. Learning is a two-way street that educates both the student and the teacher.
Patience is a vital part of the job. Learning the basics of the role will not come overnight. It’s no different than learning how to safely and effectively perform our duties out on our work properties — we can’t possibly acquire everything we are going to need to know all at once. It takes time to perfect the basics and build our skill sets out from there. Practice doesn’t make perfect — practice makes permanent. This is why it is so important to learn how to perform the job of LR the right way from the beginning.
Local officers are the backbone of this Organization. There is an expectation for LRs to take their oath, take it with pride and take the responsibilities that come with the position seriously.
Every word is the foundation of the position. Never forget that the LR is an integral part of the SMART-TD. We are our brother’s and sister’s keeper, and I speak for every SMART-TD officer at every level when I say we want every LR to grow and succeed.
Please enjoy every minute of service the next four years!
Chairman — Association of State Legislative Directors and Indiana State Legislative Director