Reports to: Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs
Department: Public Policy and Government Affairs
The Senior Government Affairs Strategist serves as a leading strategist for First 5 LA’s government relations and is responsible for developing and maintaining strong relationships with elected officials and other public policymakers representing and/or affecting Los Angeles County and who are relevant to First 5 LA’s policy priorities. Managing a team of Government Affairs Specialists and contractors, and working closely with program staff and partner organizations, the Senior Government Affairs Strategist tracks elections and monitors the activities and positions of local, state, and federal elected officials and other public policymakers; develops strong relationships with elected officials and their staff on behalf of First 5 LA; creates strategies to align with elected existing priorities and activate potential legislative champions; supports development and execution of advocacy campaigns in partnership with policy staff and external partners; builds new governmental and legislative champions for young children; develops and advocates for First 5 LA’s state and federal legislative agenda; keeps policymakers informed of First 5 LA’s policy priorities; and works with other First 5 LA staff to support coalitions with a wide variety of external partners to advance shared policy goals. The Senior Government Affairs Strategist will also provide technical assistance to internal staff on government relations; communicate and coordinate government relations activities with relevant Best Start staff and community partnerships; and represent First 5 LA with local, state, and federal policymakers, partners, and coalitions. This position reports directly to the Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, and serves as a member of the Department’s senior leadership and strategy team.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
The Senior Government Affairs Strategist should visibly demonstrate the adopted organizational values of collaboration, integrity, respect, accountability, purpose, shared leadership and learning in the execution of their key areas of responsibility:
Key Areas of Responsibility:
- Political monitoring, assessment, and compliance
- Public official relationship development and management
- Legislative Affairs
- Coalition development and management
- Strategy development and advocacy
- Supervision of direct reports and talent development
Political Monitoring, Assessment, and Compliance
- Tracks the local, state, and federal political landscape as it relates to First 5 LA’s policy priorities and elected officials who represent Los Angeles County
- Creates systems to effectively monitor political activity including elections, legislation, policymaker engagement and priorities
- Assesses opportunities to build new and stronger relationships with elected officials to advance First 5 LA priorities
- Coordinates First 5 LA compliance with lobbying rules, regulations, and reporting Public Official Relationship Development and Management
- Initiates and develops relationships with elected officials, their staff, and other public policymakers (including executive agencies)
- Builds policymaker champions for First 5 LA and early childhood policies
- Ensures elected officials are aware of and support First 5 LA policy priorities
- Coordinates government affairs activities with other departments including but not limited to Communities and Community Relations
- Conducts briefings, meetings, forums, site visits and information sessions to brief policymakers and their staff
Coalition development and management
- In partnership with Senior Policy Strategists and program staff, initiates and develops relationships with external early childhood advocates and potential supporters of early childhood (e.g., other First 5s, K-12 education, health, child welfare, civil rights, anti-poverty, labor, etc.).
- Builds champions among partner organizations for common early childhood policies
- Coordinates coalition advocacy activities such as joint legislative visits, legislative briefings, in-district tours of early childhood sites, etc.
- In collaboration with policy and program staff, monitors state and federal legislative activity and develop and prioritize legislative agendas
- Develops and executes strategies to advance legislative priorities
Strategy Development and advocacy
- Collaborates with policy and program staff to ensure successful development and execution of issue-specific advocacy campaigns
- Develops and manages contracts with lobbyists and other advocacy groups supporting First 5 LA’s broad legislative and policy agendas
- Advocates directly with policymakers across all of First 5 LA’s policy priorities
- Maintains critical expertise in First 5 LA’s policy agenda
- Supports the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and values a diversity of perspectives
- Adheres to policies and procedures to ensure alignment with State regulations, local ordinances and First 5 LA directives
- Keeps apprised of all laws, regulations, statutes, rules and policies affecting First 5 LA and Proposition 10
- Supervises contractors and consultants, as needed
- Collaborates both internally and with external stakeholders to capture, synthesize and share learning and knowledge outcomes from the ongoing execution of all activities as necessary
- Other duties and responsibilities may be assigned. The duties and responsibilities listed are designed to provide typical examples of the work performed; not all duties and responsibilities assigned are included here, nor is it expected that all similar positions will be assigned every duty and responsibility.
Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:
- Commitment to organizational mission and values: Mission-driven and self-directed, with a demonstrated passion for First 5 LA’s work to strengthen families and improve child outcomes; strives to model organizational values through daily actions and behaviors
- Possesses Customer-Focused Mindset: Is able to identify appropriate and relevant stakeholders; identifies internal and external stakeholders needs (customers); is responsive to stakeholder needs, considers impact when making recommendations
- Collaborative: Collaborates with peers to drive results in alignment with organizational and operational goals in support of the organization’s mission; is able to work in cross-functional teams; is able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with co-workers, public officials and the general public
- Communicates Effectively: Communicates effectively both written and oral; strong presentation skills; demonstrates ability to develop and deliver relevant and appropriate communications; delivers messages in a direct manner; able to tailor messages appropriately to various audiences
- Demonstrates Integrity And Judgment: Follows through on commitments letting others know of his/her true intentions; ensures decision-making or recommendations are fact-based and others understand the decision/recommendation before moving forward; considers the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one
- Demonstrates Critical Thinking: Applies critical thinking, logic and reasoning to analyze complex problems and information; identifies relative strengths and weaknesses of options, solutions or approaches
- Demonstrates Strategic Thinking: Identifies key issues and relationships relevant to achieving long range goals or vision; develops alternatives based on logical assumptions, facts, available resources, constraints, and organizational values to develop a point of view on a course of action to accomplish goals; develops priorities with the right balance of short and long-term wins
Job Specific Competencies
- Role Specific Content: Strong knowledge of local, state, and federal government operations and calendar, including comprehensive knowledge of the legislative and budget process; experience working with and initiating relationships with elected officials and their staff; ability to persuade, negotiate, and build trust with others through in-person communications as well as by phone and email; experience with policy and political analysis; ability to digest large volumes of legislative and political information and distill key findings in writing and orally to wide variety of audiences; ability to develop effective monitoring, tracking, and compliance systems; ability to develop political strategies; able to adapt, pivot and seize emerging opportunities in the midst of quickly-changing political environment; strong writing and editing skills required.
- Content Knowledge: Competent in required job skills and knowledge; ability to learn and apply new skills; ability to learn how to operate new systems quickly; demonstrated ability to set priorities, establish clear expectations and execute identified projects; keeps abreast of current developments; requires minimal supervision; displays understanding of how job relates to others; knows how to use technology tools to effectively manage and expedite processes; uses resources effectively
- Planning and Organization and Project Management: Works in an organized manner with strong attention to detail; prioritizes and plans work activities; ability to effectively manage overlapping projects and deadlines; ability to work under pressure, meet deadlines and adjust to changing priorities; uses time efficiently; plans for additional resources; integrates changes smoothly; sets goals and objectives; ability to manage high performance projects
Managing People: Provides written and oral direction, sets clear expectations and gains compliance; takes responsibility for direct reports’ activities; makes self-available to direct reports; develops direct reports’ skills and encourages growth; provides regular performance feedback; encourages open communications; uses negotiation skills to resolve conflict; strong influencing and relationship skills; experience in managing high performance teams
- Minimum of seven years of experience in policy, advocacy, public administration, public affairs, or a related field
- Minimum of three years of staff supervision preferred
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in policy, public administration, political science, public affairs, or a related field
- Advanced degree in relevant field preferred
Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems
- Proficiency in MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
- Ability to use widely supported internet browsers
- Experience with Lexis Nexis or other legislative monitoring software preferred
Certificates, Licenses and Registrations:
- Valid California Class C Driver License or the ability to utilize an alternative method of transportation when needed to carry out job-related essential functions
- Valid automobile liability insurance
- This position requires frequent travel locally, statewide and nationally as needed
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS / WORK ENVIRONMENT
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
The employee will sit, talk, hear and use hands up to 2/3 of the time. The employee will stand and walk up to 1/3 of the time. The employee is routinely required to carry and/or lift up to 10 pounds.
The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.