Boost your outreach through Colorado’s rural advocacy organizations

Boost your outreach through Colorado’s rural advocacy organizations

by Kathy Fackler, Durango chapter

Colorado’s three rural advocacy organizations offer CCL volunteers a unique opportunity to activate the levers of influence with civic leaders, key regional businesses, and non-governmental organizations. Club20 represents the West Slope. Pro15 and Action15 represent the northeast and southeast regions, respectively. Combined, they cover Colorado Districts 3 and 4, plus parts of Districts 2 and 5.

These nonpartisan membership organizations advocate at the state and federal level on a wide variety of issues affecting rural Colorado, including energy, water, agriculture, natural resources, and public lands. The membership develops policy positions through a committee and board structure. Anyone who lives within the regional area can join. Club20 charges a nominal fee of $100 per year for an individual membership and $50 for students.

As a CCL member from a rural, conservative-majority congressional district, I joined Club 20 because they have influence with my representative and because I was intrigued by the work they do. County representatives, along with business and individual members, meet several times a year to discuss issues and find solutions to common problems across the Western Slope.

At CCL, we build political will for bipartisan solutions to climate change. We believe in treating people with respect and appreciation, meeting people where they are, and appreciating the circumstances, beliefs and values that led them to their position on climate. Then we look for common ground and try to move forward, bit by bit. In my conservative-leaning congressional district, there’s no better place for outreach than Club20.

Two months after joining, I attended an energy roundtable with my Republican congress member. I was able to briefly meet him, ask him publicly about the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, and provide him with information on the policy, which led to an in-person lobby meeting.

I joined the Club20 Energy Committee and began building relationships with representatives from Chevron and Tri-State. At my request, the Energy Committee scheduled a CCL presentation on Carbon Fee and Dividend.

Club20 holds four multi-day meetings each year along with special-topic roundtables. In January, they have a joint meeting in Denver with Pro15 and Action22, the other two rural advocacy organizations. Every other year, Club20 schedules a trip to Washington DC. Meetings typically include report-outs from congressional staff, and sometimes from the members themselves.

Club20 events include time to unwind and socialize. At the annual Steak Fry in 2019, I met a Denver Post energy reporter and spoke with two Commissioners from Moffat County about the impacts people would face if the coal power plants in their county shut down. This summer, Club20 will meet in Craig to see firsthand how they are planning their transition.

I joined Club20 for access and information, but the greatest benefit is something I hadn't anticipated: pride in seeing my state and local leaders work together to solve the difficult challenges ahead.

If you live in rural Colorado, consider joining your rural advocacy organization: