NAWBO OC works to shape the economic, regulatory, and business environment to better support the success of women entrepreneurs.
Access to Capital and Credit
Contracting and Disparity
Labor and Employment Issues
Education and Workforce
Taxes Regulatory Reform
Energy and Environment
Technology and Cybersecurity
The Issues Council is a small group of NAWBO OC members who shape the course of NAWBO OC's advocacy efforts. They identify the needs of women-owned and small business, review research studies, track legislation (with the help of special tools), propose solutions, and work alongside the Advocacy Committee to engage local, state, and national legislators to bring about change.
BillTrack50 is a tool that allows NAWBO OC members to track bills pertaining to our advocacy priorities through the California legislature. BillTrack50 is a property of LegiNation, a woman-owned business, founded and operated by Karen Suhaka.
Steps to Advocacy
Find Your Legislator
Use this address lookup tool to see a complete list of your federal, state, and local elected officials.
The tool is powered with Google API data. If you have a new home, you may not receive a complete list. If that's the case, find your federal and state representatives here, and your representative on the Board of Supervisors here. You can also Google search your local City Council.
Importantly, NAWBO OC does not endorse any views or opinions shared on external websites.
Learn about the Issues
Review NAWBO OC's current Advocacy Priorities.
You may enjoy reading about the advocacy and legislative agendas of NAWBO's partners. NAWBO OC is often in alignment with our partners, but does not endorse or support the policy platforms of our partners unless specifically voted on by our membership.
While the federal government sets policies that affect businesses across the nation, like income taxes, interest rates, and trade regulations, States and local municipalities have their own set of rules and laws that regulate things like labor, healthcare, and environmental impact.
The public policy platforms below represent a range of policy priorities for organizations operating at the federal, state, and local levels of government.
Learn about your Legislators
Now that you are becoming more familiar with the issues, it's time to learn about your elected officials.
Start with three issues that are the most important to you, and learn about how your local legislators (especially your State Assemblyperson and State Senator) are voting on them.
- Visit your representatives websites. They will often have a section called Issues. Also check their candidate websites for more details about their positions.
- Follow your representatives on social media and subscribe to their newsletters.
- Visit ballotpedia.com to see a synopsis of your representative’s political career, the Committees they serve on, important recent votes, and historic voting record.
- If you're interested in learning how your representatives finance their campaigns (aka war chests), visit opensecrets.org.
- Set a Google Alert to notify you when your legislators are making headlines.
Contact your Representative
The most effective method for communicating with your representative depends on your objectives.
VISIT THE LOCAL OFFICE
If you want to build a relationship or start a dialogue, make an appointment to visit your representative's legislative director in person. Bring business cards (you will be asked for it the second you walk in the door) and plan to take no more than 20 minutes. Follow-up with an email.
WRITE A LETTER
Writing a letter to your representative is great when it is highly targeted. Is there a bill moving through the legislative process that you favor or oppose? Has a recent policy been implemented that is helping or hurting your business? Tell them - give them the quotes they can use on the debate floor and in their newsletters.
Calling is one of the most effective ways to influence public policy, especially when an issue is hot and the office is receiving many calls. The office keeps tallies of all calls, and yes, they use them. When you call, a legislative assistant will answer the phone and will ask you if you need a response. Say no. If you say yes, you will be put into a response database and it won't be quick. Be clear, get to the point, and get off the horn. Here's what you need to say:
- Your name
- Your zip code
- "I am a woman business owner and my company is ..."
- "I am a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners" (only if you are calling about one of NAWBO OC's Advocacy Priorities - otherwise, do not mention the organization)
- "I don't need a response"
- "I am opposed to/in favor of ..."
- "I strongly encourage [representative] to please oppose/vote for ..."
- "Thank you for your hard work!"
*If you are calling about an issue outside of NAWBO OC's stated Advocacy Priorities, do not reference the organization.
Email is best for follow-up when you've already established repor. If you're not ready to call, shoot off an email. You may even get a response!