What a midterm election! I don’t even care whether pollsters and predictors were proven right. What fascinates me is the amount of new energy in both state and federal government after 2018, and what that means for people like me who offer constituent services.

State-level gains were off the charts, and the vast majority of these new legislators are just that: new. Many state legislatures turned over. As just one example, take Oklahoma, where 11 of 48 state senators, and a stunning 103 of 149 state representatives, will be brand new to public service when they begin to meet. That’s around 70 percent newbie. With new governorships and a handful of new state attorneys general, state executive government will also probably be filled with a lot of new appointees and staff who haven’t governed at this level before.

So what’s that going to be like? “We won the election . . . oh wow, we won the election. Now we have to do hard stuff, including forming relationships with everyone in our newly elected official’s district.” As we’ll see when we talk about Alexandia Ocasio-Cortez’s new paradigm of responding to constituents, what these new public servants lack in experience they’ll have to make up for in enthusiastic engagement with constituents. Writing for the Farm Bureau, Cody Lyon says: “The incoming 116th Congress will have 110 to 125 members of Congress with less than two terms of experience. That’s roughly one out of four . . . Expect a frenzy inside the Beltway with groups trying to cultivate new champions on Capitol Hill.”

And how do we respond to it? First, we note what our friends at Broadnet recently advised: Now that the election is over, thank your constituents, identify their priority issues, notify them instantly of what courses of action you are pursuing. Stepping up to those challenges is going to be a lot easier if new officials’ constituent support software is user-friendly.

iConstituent offers website and data services, newsletter creation and distribution, and the means to record and process voter and constituent feedback. Back in 2016 Ciara O’Riordan at Ecanvasser called our system “user-friendly” and said our “platform interface is easy for staffers to use and if they run into any stumbling blocks they offer training classes on the side.”

A close relationship with constituents–and demonstrating that the relationship matters more than how fellow elected officials see you–is the key to Ocasio-Cortez’s early success in carving a media and policy niche for herself–which ultimately helps other electeds and candidates like her stay true to their constituents, a message Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times she hears loud and clear: “’We know how much pressure you’re going to be under even from within your own party. We know you’re going to be under pressure to fall in line. Just please don’t do it.’”

As Lyon of the Farm Bureau writes, “Advocacy groups and constituents that start bridging the knowledge gap sooner rather than later will be the ones in the position to better achieve their policy goals.” Part of that knowledge gap is closed by quickly gleaning what your own constituents want the most. iConstituent has unique ways to help you do that.

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