Lobbying via video

Buckeye Farm News

Guernsey County Farm Bureau public policy action team leader Kathi Albertson had a dilemma: She and other landowners really needed to talk to state lawmakers about a possible oil and gas lease loophole. But meeting with lawmakers wasn’t easy because of time or distance constraints.The solution?

Albertson started thinking about how her children and grandchildren communicate electronically.

Albertson approached Zane State College officials about using the college’s facilities for a videoconference and was pleased that the service was free. The Statehouse has a government TV studio, making it easy and convenient for lawmakers to schedule a videoconference in their busy schedules.

“This is the first time that I know of a county Farm Bureau that has been involved in something like this with legislators,” said Spencer Waugh, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of legislative relations. “Kathi took the lead on setting it up this way.”

The result:

At the time of the conference in January, Waugh was with state Reps. Andy Thompson and David Hall in Columbus and Albertson was with state Rep. Brian Hill, about a dozen Farm Bureau members and Dale Arnold, Ohio Farm Bureau’s director of energy policy, in Zanesville.

In preparation for the meeting, Albertson sent the lawmakers copies of landowners’ leases and what part of the law they would be discussing.

“This is another tool in the toolbox for our members to consider,” Waugh said. “In the past, sometimes you would only have one person go down for a meeting. This allows for more people to be involved and have more discussions.”

Albertson said many colleges and universities have the capability to do teleconferencing but that if it isn’t available, she recommends trying Facetime on an iPad, which can be passed around.

“I’d definitely do it again,”  she said.

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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