A baker’s dozen strategies organizations may use to inform state-level policymaking bodies


This is the fourth blog installment discussing organizations’ advocacy efforts and state-level policymaking.

Here are the takeaways:

  • Organizations may find themselves contending with policymaker aims contrary to long-held organizational values, which may be intensified by the rise of “entrepreneurial” politics and politicians, particularly at the national level.
  • Use of consortia (or broad-based inter-organizational alliances) may provide organizations the ability to affect policymaking in a broader, collegial sense, involving organizations having similar and dissimilar aims, although turf may prove prohibitive. (Admittedly, some existing alliances seek to achieve mutual inter-organizational aims or goals.)
  • Increasingly, ubiquitous social media venues influence organizational advocacy, meaning the need for consistent procedures and practices.
  • Organizations, operating through “multidimensional” segments, may be able to best address future advocacy stances, although balanced with organizational aims or goals crafted to meet emerging policy developments.

The baker’s dozen:

  1. Organizational advocacy exists as a continuum with eyes, fully open in the present, laid wide on the past while looking to what’s known or predictable about the future – Janus-like approach.[i]
  2. Anti-fragile[ii] isn’t the same as organizational persecution complex.[iii] The former may be growth-inducing, prompted when organizational stances, actions or proposals are scrutinized against policymaker aims; the latter, resigned defensiveness, which, at most, may yield  crocodile tears.
  3. Catastrophizing[iv] may be a formidable advocacy strategy if infrequently used or used to advantage. The sky is falling[v] approach often proves irritating not only to policymakers but also most everyone else. Catastrophizing may be apt if the organization provides credible evidence its core values would be eroded or destroyed because of policymaker aims if not modified,[vi] which differs from rehashed, historic cant.    Finally, no matter what policymakers do or have done, the sun appears each morning, although little immediate comfort or consolation. Hear Hubert Humphrey out: “Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts – it’s what have left.”[vii] Yes, advocacy groups will need to dust themselves off occasionally, climbing back into the arena. [viii]
  1. Canem adprehendit automobile or “the dog catches the automobile.” What’s next? What contingencies?  ‘Catching the car’ is different from keeping the car ‘caught,’ especially as mediated by elections. Policymaker/organizational scrapes gone badly, based on an organization’s defense of values or non-negotiables, happen. [ix] Repurposing an Eastern proverb, “the frog in the well (will know) nothing of the sea”[x] if the organization focuses on limitations, based on scrapes which result in ties or defeat. (Or, for that matter, seeing victory or partial victory as summative, aka resting on laurels.) Accordingly, policymakers may introduce nudges and boosts to widen an organization’s “appreciation” of policymakers goals, especially those perceived as voter mandates. [xi]
  2. As poet T.S. Eliot says, “All truths are private truths.”[xii] There is truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which organizational  advocates swear to affirm when testifying before West Virginia Legislature Committees.  There are facts, data, information, statistics (data). Data, however, is wisely and widely subjected to interpretation by policymakers, various constituencies, based on variables such as timeliness, source(s), format, fact-checking or even anecdotal “data,” which often gains coinage when constituent share their truths with policymakers at public gatherings, in grocery store conversations, church, civic or community events. Hint: The best organizational approach may include combining quantitative and quality data, i.e., empirical research and focus group input.[xiii]
  3. Organizations should embrace consortia, which requires long-term, deliberative thought, although not abandoning advantageous coalition involvement. Consortia promote dialogue between and among similar and dissimilar parties, based on breadth and depth of shared, aligned or countervailing policy issues. Coalitions, by design, often end in “the middle,” providing anointed and invigorated energy and even initiative and cover for often larger, more widely known coalition progenitors, having much to lose if taking a unilateral position.[xiv] Consortia, again, comprised of diverse, non-aligned organizations, approach their tasks in “parliament” settings, whereas coalitions are established through invitational appointment of broad constituencies often to achieve singular aims (such as support or opposition to constitutional amendments). Consortia emphasize structured dialogue without an aim for consensus, issues position papers, establishing an array or “well” of data dashboards available to the policyholders and the public, sponsoring educational seminars, etc. Again, coalition membership must not be discounted as a delimited strategy.  (Of course, existing inter-organizational alliances support mutual policy aims, such as business, labor, or health care alliances.)
  4. Organizations, including advocacy departments, exist at various levels, with their leadership responsible for scanning the environment, seeking to bolster organizational strengths and to ward threats. Finding balance is key, equipping the organization to meet emergent – or long-term – demands and challenges. Moving those on the ground (rank-and-file), however, becomes critical. While successful organizations are advised to be nimble,[xv] their leaders cannot embrace policy shifts that “cancel” or “sacrifice” organizational values or non-negotiables.[xvi] If not preparing for emergent policy shifts, organizations may doom their rank-and-file – those on the ground[xvii] – due to changing policy menus, resulting from elections or overt acts of policymakers whose statutes, policies, rules and regulation may affect those “on the ground” directly. While wrong menus may  emerge, disturbing customary  orderliness,  the old adage  – “if you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu” – may prove telling.[xviii] Moreover, organizations can structure themselves with “forward-looking” sectors  – think consortia membership as cited above –  as long as messaging is clear, meaning the organization enunciates, through proper parties, official pronouncements regarding its policy concerns,  with means to solidify membership support  through “aligned messaging.” [xix]
  5. In the case you have not noticed, ‘summer of love politics’ seems on its last legs, although some observers contend 60s political mystique was felled by capitalism in the late 1960s, prefiguring today’s politics through policy actions during the last 40-50 years.[xx] Organizations retain stability in polarized times,  although seeking the baleful middle or rush to bipartisanship appears to be fading as a “go-to” strategy, certainly nationally. [xxi]  Wise leaders equip organizations to maximize potential for change so organizations will be or remain valued by policymakers, especially over the long-haul. The key is organizational  “multidimensionality,” that allows organization shape-shifters to “shift” or pivot, addressing policymakers’ emergent aims while retaining organizational values and non-negotiables to maintain resilience.[xxii]
  6. While Under the Eye of Power: How Fear of Secret Societies Shapes American Democracy[xxiii]is a commendable read, is the world comprised of conspiracies, often “typed” as  including cabals of malefactors ready to edge the unalert into numerous abysses? This thinking is mainstream. Accordingly, elected policymakers are seen as most capable of dealing with complexity through removing ambiguities “efficiently,” by eliminating what a  federal health agency defines as “uncertainty intolerance.”[xxiv] Truth in part but liability in a larger sense because, as issues become weighted with greater complexities, policy dilemmas may become intractable, resulting in governance paralysis, i.e. Washington dysfunction, especially if balanced budgets are not mandated, but spending authorized through  “continuing fiscal resolutions.” Moreover, TV, podcasters  and social media types seemingly rush history to achieve their enunciated ends with real time efficiency, guaranteeing amped ratings – even cult status. Yet, does not history unfold generations later?[xxv] Wise organizations welcome open, expansive sweeps of narratives in a time when  generalists,[xxvi] including CEOs as preferred entrepreneurs, are besting siloed organizational staff. [xxvii]  Effective organizations espy opportunities from disorder while political bases may seek absolutism, especially in a time characterized by what Bret Stephens, quoting Tablet’s Alana Newhouse,  terms “brokenness.”[xxviii] Relatedly, entrepreneurs (or, at least, entrepreneurial thinking) is prized today as an economic prompt for economic development much as the efforts of 19th Century capitalist tycoons were lauded.[xxix] Moreover, politicians whose campaigns are framed around eliminating ambiguities or nuance appear to be on the rise, although policymaking is both process and passion, the latter often besting the former, because the public, willing to accept fundamental certainties, views institutions and process as increasingly suspect – a consideration Stephens also makes.
  7. Social Media, including AI, is ubiquitous. As a West Virginia Department of Education official reported to the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Education, policymakers provide parameters of responsible use for AI – as a matterof policy they must decide. [xxx]. Moreover, “X,” formerly Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, podcasts, and various forms of electronic media provide a way to influence policymaking in “real time.” Organizations, however, need policies and procedures for use of social media without sole reliance on this communications medium. Carefully crafted social media use can amplify organizational pronouncements.Think policymaker public hearings.Some advocacy groups, during the allotted time at the hearing, will mention supporting information is available on the organization’s website or will provide that detail at the hearing, including hardcopy.
  8. Organizations equip members with sufficient, useful, credible information appropriate to organizational divisions or levels, meaning variances, but, again, “aligned messaging” and the medium or media for such, including one-on-one dialogue with policymakers based on organizational positions held. For instance, school system excess levy proponents include both professional educators and school service personnel as well as school administrators and county board members – as regulated by law. Each grouping bears differing  messaging emphases, based on organizational positioning,  to enhance support for excess levies, e.g., salary and benefits enhancements, facilities enhancements, school safety enhancements.[xxxi]
  9. Advocacy is only one facet of an organization’s outputs, but critical in its own right. Effective organizations plan to, restating the above, function in the present, while looking to the past for direction and guidance, to embrace the future fully. Organizations whose leaders pull far ahead of members may place the organization and/or their positions in jeopardy. Moreover, policymakers often want an identified or “go-to” leader (or leaders) to ensure organizational positional solidity is being espoused, based on delegate assemblies, governing boards or other sanctioned or appropriate intra-organizational units having these responsibilities. Diverse consortia also provide organizations the ability to engage in “look-aheads.” Jared Diamond points out many advocacy groups do not have the capacity to fully realize their goals, although organizations – corporations in this case – may conclude goals such as materials recycling, energy conservation or alternative energy sources benefit society at large.[xxxii] Governor Jim Justice echoed a related sentiment when referring to fossil fuels and the state’s emphasis on use of alternate energy sources and enterprises in his January 10 State of the State address.[xxxiii]
  10. The West Virginia Constitution states:The powers of government reside in all the citizens of the state, and can be rightfully exercised only in accordance with their will and appointment.[xxxiv]

Labor West unions, school employee organizations, business groups, health groups, and other associations and organizations provide West Virginia citizens amplified voices to inform and influence policymaking.

As citizens we must not only hold ourselves accountable but also our elected officials entrusted to represent us.[xxxv]



[i] https://www.andersonlock.com/blog/god-doors/#:~:text=As%20the%20god%20of%20transitions,or%20openings%20between%20spatial%20boundaries.

[ii] https://fs.blog/antifragile-a-definition/

[iii] https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/01/11/how-to-manage-the-arrogant-victim-mindset/?sh=1c5237e038d8 Admittedly, inexact application, although there are similar elements at play between policymakers and organizational advocates.

[iv] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/catastrophizing

[v] Henny Penny,” more commonly known in the United States as “Chicken Little” and sometimes as “Chicken Licken,” is a European folk tale a moral in the form of a cumulative tale about a chicken who believes that the world is coming to an end. The phrase “The sky is falling!” features prominently in the story and has passed into the English language as a common idiom indicating a hysterical mistaken belief that disaster is imminent. Similar stories go back more than 25 centuries[1] and “Henny Penny” continues to be referred to in a variety of media. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henny_Penny#:~:text=%22Henny%20Penny%22%2C%20more%20commonly,is%20coming%20to%20an%20end.

[vi]https://annecorder.co.uk/employers-blog/understanding-your-workplace-non-negotiables/#:~:text=Your%20workplace%20non%2Dnegotiables%20outline,your%20workplace%2C%20colleagues%20and%20customers  is a representative read. %20end.

[vii]  https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/hubert-h-humphrey-quotes

[viii] https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/44567.Theodore_Roosevelt

[ix] https://www.mr-sustainability.com/why-how-what-who/clear-non-negotiables

[x]  https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Chinese_Stories/The_frog_of_the_well#:~:text=The%20Chinese%20text%20is%20a,in%20a%20well%2C%20has%20a

[xi] https://pure.mpg.de/rest/items/item_2513866_5/component/file_2514744/content


[xii] https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/t_s_eliot_

[xiii] https://betterthesis.dk/research-methods/lesson-1different-approaches-to-research/combining-qualitative-and-quantitative-methods#:~:text=In%20practice%2C%20most%20researchers%20agree,understanding%20of%20a%20research%20area. Or, 402054      https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/quantitative-vs-qualitative-research/#:~:text=Simply%20put%2C%20quantitative%20data%20gets,understand%20the%20differences%20between%20them.

[xiv] https://justassociates.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/new_weave_en_ch17.pdf

[xv] https://fundingforgood.org/build-a-nimble-organization/#:~:text=Nimble%20organizations%20are%20purpose%2Ddriven,organization%20also%20requires%20nimble%20leadership. Excellent read.

[xvi] See Endnote 6.

[xvii] https://chopwoodcarrywaterllc.com/index.php/2023/11/27/state-level-policymaking-bodies-and-organizations-weather-climate-analogies-relating-to-policy-determination/

[xviii]  https://quoteinvestigator.com/2020/11/15/table-menu/   https://www.haystackteam.com/blog/three-key-elements-of-messaging-alignment#:~:text=Aligned%20messaging%20unites%20senior%20leadership,effective%20marketing%20and%20communication%20campaigns.

[xix] https://www.haystackteam.com/blog/three-key-elements-of-messaging-alignment#:~:text=Aligned%20messaging%20unites%20senior%20leadership,effective%20marketing%20and%20communication%20campaigns

[xx] https://daily.jstor.org/the-summer-of-love-wasnt-all-peace-and-hippies/

[xxi] https://corg.iu.edu/programs/hamilton-views/comments-on-congress/Bipartisanship%20Isnt%20Dead,%20But%20Its%20Not%20In%20Good%20Health,%20Either%20.html

[xxii] https://dainamiddleton.com/shape-shifter-importance-building-organizational-resilience/ organizational shape-shifter

[xxiii] https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/11/books/review/under-the-eye-of-power-colin-dickey.html

[xxiv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9747232/

[xxv] Interesting read: https://maineinitiatives.org/news/history-is-written-by-the-victors

[xxvi] https://davidepstein.com/the-range/

[xxvii] https://www.shopify.com/blog/entrepreneur-examples

[xxviii] https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/11/opinion/columnists/donald-trump-election.html

[xxix] https://online.maryville.edu/business-degrees/americas-gilded-age/ “…With technology booming and immigrants flocking to the United States seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families, they left their mark on the United States — and on history.”

[xxx] Joint Standing Committee on Education

[xxxi] https://joinit.com/membership-organizations-guide (Refer to” non-profits and advocacy groups.”)

[xxxii] https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/opinion/06diamond.html

[xxxiii] “…We need to diversify our economies. We need to never, never, never forget our coal miners, our gas workers and our fossil fuels…I said diversify the economy. We could not just depend on one industry all the time…But we couldn’t depend on the one industry all the time. But we don’t forget, do we? And you know what happened? Because us putting another stake in the sand and saying we’re not going to forget our fossil fuels…” – https://governor.wv.gov/News/press-releases/2024/Pages/Gov.-Justice-to-deliver-final-State-of-the-State-Address-Wednesday-night.aspx

[xxxiv] https://www.wvlegislature.gov/WVCODE/WV_CON.cfm#articleII

[xxxv] https://wvmetronews.com/2024/01/10/heres-whats-good-about-the-west-virginia-legislature/

Electoral mandates and organizational charters as prompts for policymaking

The Verdict of the People 1854–1855

The Verdict of the People 1854–1855[i]



  1. Unlike organizations’ reliance on charters to accomplish aims, elected state-level policymaking bodies formulate policy based on mandate of the electorate.
  2. A seminal 1969 work (updated in 1979) postulates organized groups have capacity to convince policymakers to “(assume) responsibility for programs sought by interests.” The author contends, “(The federal government) has become a state whose government maintains a steadfast position that any institution large enough to be a significant factor in the community may have its stability underwritten…”[ii]
  3. What role does personal principles or values play in policymakers’ decisionmaking?

‘Well-considered’ policy.

These entries discuss organizations’ responses to policymakers’ proposals, namely acceptance or by seeking to modify policymakers’ aims or through opposition based on organizational charters or other foundational documents. [iii]

This writer contends the “space” or, more aptly, the “tension,” between policymakers’ aims and organizations’ raison d’être, is the fulcrum by which public policy is made or, in the case of agency regulations, refined. That well-considered public policy will result in this process is open to interpretation but considered normative,[iv] given advocacy may be seen as “not mainly a struggle among competing interests over highly collective goods. Rather, it’s the public provision of private goods.” [v] And more to the point, “this shift in understanding influences our perception of the strengths and weaknesses of American democracy,” a point Lowi makes. “ [vi]

The electorate, policymakers and clientele memberships.

No matter, none other than an elected state level policymaker points out, in response to the two blog entries, policymakers, unlike organizations, are empowered by the electorate to exercise authority through adoption of rules, regulations, statutes, given the vantage of a 30,000 foot, 360 stance, although policymakers’ actions may greatly impact the “ground-level,” including classrooms, work sites, commerce and regulated ventures.[vii]

Accordingly, the “tension” described above may be expressed differently: how do policymakers “balance” mandates of the electorate with organizational or client pressures, given that segments of the electorate may be members of clientele groups or associations from farmers (West Virginia Farm Bureau) to budding businesspersons (Young Entrepreneurs), manufacturers (West Virginia Manufacturers), to those who support various causes from the ACLU West Virginia to  the National Rifle Association (NRA).[viii]

Consider these responses:

  • “When citizens can associate only in certain cases, they regard association as a rare and singular process, and they hardly think of it. When you allow (citizens) to associate freely in everything, they end up seeing in association the universal and, so to speak, unique means that men can use to attain the various ends they propose. Each new need immediately awakens the idea of association…” – [ix]
  • “In effect, to follow, not to force the public inclination; to give a direction, a form, a technical dress, and a specific sanction, to the general sense of community, is the true end of (policymakers).” – Edmund Burke. [x]
  • “A government is invigorated when each of us is willing to participate in sharing the future of this nation.” – Barbara Jordan. [xi]
  • “(The federal government) has become a state whose government maintains a steadfast position that any institution large enough to be a significant factor in the community may have its stability underwritten…”[xii]


 In camera[xiii] and  legislative process considerations.


Does policy emerge from largely private (as in camera can be defined),[xiv] settings, meaning the legislative process is essentially scripted or dictated “behind the scenes?”


Whether this observation, routinely proffered by the news media and, to use an archaic term, “goo-goos,”[xv] is true, partly true, partly true/partly false,  or patently untrue, advocacy in camera assuredly occurs through policymakers’ assent. Indeed, organizational advocates hope to secure favorable access for their clients, but with the routine disclaimer access alone doesn’t always convert into aspirational policies, rules, regulations or statutes. And, for those organizations who enlist support to advocates, advocacy is for the fearless – that is, those who can traverse marble halls, navigating the complexities of process, including timelines, meetings, public hearings and numerous other points of engagement client advocacy requires.


Policymaking process is critical:


  • Most aspects of the formal policymaking process occur in public, including votes. (There are, of course, caucuses or other executive or closed sessions or deliberations.)
  • Policymakers need sponsors, sponsors need policymakers. “Sponsors” include the electorate (or at least, in the sense of elected policymakers, voters or blocs of loyalist voters )[xvi]  as well as segments of the electorate represented by organizational advocates. Organizations provide campaign funds support to elect policymakers. Policymakers, especially elected policymakers, develop law, rules, regulations, through a formalized process with (or without) input from a citizen, the citizenry, or organizations whose clientele includes segments of the electorate. According to current research, policymakers “balance” both “predictive modeling” and “deservingness” – no small feat, with citizens and organizational advocates making pitches for both.[xvii]


Questions regarding alignment to policymakers’ aims.


The degree to which an organization is successful in securing policymakers’ use of their organizational input depends on some alignment with policymakers’ aims, which may be contrary to organizational goals and objectives.


  • Should the will of the electorate (often expressed as a mandate or mandates) serve as the preeminent policymaking prompt or groupings of the electorate represented by organizations?
  • Should policymakers base decisionmaking on their individual values or prompts, which may be contrary to the perceived electorate’s will or that of organized constituents comprising segments of the electorate?

An ages-old question.

If policymaking amounted to conversion of data, facts, information organizations provide, would decisionmaking by  Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) suffice? Nope. Think juries.[xviii] Policymakers and organizations vie to interpret information conveyed, especially impact on clientele and/or the electorate, although policymakers may ignore the tidied rationality organizational (or agencies’) information or public sentiments proffer. [xix]

In the second blog, we discussed how the “sky,”  which “holds” the weather, provides policymakers an  “elevational” domain.[xx] Organizations may embrace or resist policymakers’ aims, beefing up organizational weatherproofing. [xxi]

Given non-negotiables, can organizations align goals with emergent policymakers’ aims?

Can organizations use accorded missional goals and objectives to imprint or lay claim to aspects of newly evocated truths, taking rightful risks, even  promoting innovation and creativity?

The summative blog entry related to this topic includes this writer’s “baker’s dozen” strategies to both promote organizational advocacy without displacing non-negotiables.

[i] George Caleb Bingham (1811 –1879), U.S. artist, soldier and politician known in his lifetime as “the Missouri Artist.” His paintings of American frontier life along the Missouri River exemplify the “Luminist” style. “The Verdict of the People” is the last painting of three in Bingham’s “Election Series.”  This painting depicts the end of the story represented in the series by showing the electoral process’s climax and the announcement of the election results. Bingham depicts a densely crowded scene conveying the diversity of the voting populace in detail. “The Verdict of the People” shows the men gathered in the street to express both triumph and disappointment in the election results. Women who were not yet allowed to vote in Bingham’s time look on from a balcony in the top right. Comedic elements and different narrative details have been included in the composition to appealed to the broader American national interest in life on the frontier. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Caleb_Bingham#/media/File:George_Caleb_Bingham_-_The_Verdict_of_the_People.jpg

[ii] The End of Liberalism: The Second Republic of the United States, 2nd ed. By Theodore J. Lowi. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979. P. 280).

[iii] https://chopwoodcarrywaterllc.com/index.php/2023/11/27/state-level-policymaking-bodies-and-organizations-weather-climate-analogies-relating-to-policy-determination/ and https://chopwoodcarrywaterllc.com/index.php/2023/11/01/chop-wood-carry-water-2/, respectively.

[iv] “The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman thinks about the next generation.” – James Freeman Clarke. A recent newspaper opinion post stated, “We have no shortage of politics these days, but statesmanship is harder to find than a total eclipse of the sun. Why? Possibly because conventional wisdom that’s rooted in power, money, and control rather than public service guides our nation’s politics.”  https://www.denverpost.com/2023/02/20/presidents-day.

[v] Political inquiry as well as political action, therefore, “depends for its success not simply on the methods that enable us to solve problems, but also on “the judgement that enables us to appreciate which questions remain most worth asking,” and, by implication, seeking to resolve through political means.” (Hanley, 2004:A (2011) The promises, problems, and potentials of a Bourdieu-inspired staging of International Relations. International Political Sociology 5(3): 294–313. (Underlined text by this writer.)

[vi] Lowi contends, “The government expanded by responding to the demands of all major organized interests, by assuming responsibility for programs sought by those interests, and by assigning that responsibility to administrative agencies. Through the process of accommodation, the agencies became captives of the interest groups, a tendency Lowi describes as clientelism, which Lowi unabashedly contends “tightened the grip of interest groups on the machinery of government.”

[vii]  https://chopwoodcarrywaterllc.com/index.php/2023/11/27/state-level-policymaking-bodies-and-organizations-weather-climate-analogies-relating-to-policy-determination/

[viii] Refer to the following for a list of organizations for which registered lobbyists are listed: https://ethics.wv.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Lobby/Directory/Lobbyist%20Directory%202023/DECEMBER%202023/Lobbyist%20Directory%2012-15-2023.pdf

[ix] https://oll.libertyfund.org/title/schleifer-democracy-in-america-historical-critical-edition-vol-3

[x] Edmund Burke provides two additional thoughts:

  • “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.
  • “When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of (policymakers); the instruments, not the guides, of the people.” Burke was an Irish statesman and philosopher who spent most of his career in Great Britain. Born in Dublin, Burke served as a member of Parliament between 1766 and 1794 in the House of Commons of Great Britain with the Whig Party. Quotes taken from various online sources.

[xi] Barbara Jordan (Barbara Charline Jordan) (1936 – 1996), U.S. lawyer, educator, and politician. A Democrat, she was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first Southern African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives, and one of the first two African Americans elected to the U.S. House from the former Confederacy.  Jordan achieved notoriety for delivering a powerful opening statement[ at the House Judiciary Committee hearings during the impeachment process against Richard Nixon. In 1976, she became the first African American, and the first woman, to deliver a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Jordan).

[xii] The main argument Lowi develops is  that the liberal state grew to its immense size and presence without self-examination and without recognizing that its pattern of growth had problematic consequences. Its engine of growth was delegation. The government expanded by responding to the demands of all major organized interests, by assuming responsibility for programs sought by those interests, and by assigning that responsibility to administrative agencies. Through the process of accommodation, the agencies became captives of the interest groups, a tendency Lowi describes as clientelism. This in turn led to the formulation of new policies which tightened the grip of interest groups on the machinery of government. https://wwnorton.com/books/9780393934328/about-the-book/description

[xiii] Refer, among other sources, to https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/in_camera#:~:text=In%20camera%20is%20a%20Latin,not%20allowed%20to%20take%20part

[xiv] The “goo-goos,” or good government guys, were political groups working in the early 1900s to reform urban municipal governments in the United States that were dominated by graft and corruption. Goo-goos supported candidates who would fight for political reform. The term was first used in the 1890s by their detractors. An

outmoded term.

[xv] These sentiments may be expressed as “bipartisanism,” incrementalism, or efforts to vacate partisan extremism. Incrementalism was first developed in the 1950s by the American political scientist Charles E. Lindblom in response to the then-prevalent conception of policy making as a process of rational analysis culminating in a value-maximizing decision. Incrementalism emphasizes the plurality of actors involved in the policy-making process and predicts that policy makers will build on past policies, focusing on incremental rather than wholesale changes. Incrementalism has been fruitfully applied to explain domestic policy making, foreign policymaking, and public budgeting .https://www.britannica.com/topic/incrementalism

[xvi] This definition sees “In politics, a ‘base’ referring to a group of voters who consistently support a particular political party, candidate, or set of policies. These individuals are often the most loyal and engaged supporters, and they can be relied upon to turn out to vote in elections and to advocate for their preferred candidates or causes. Provided by writer, based on several definitions.

[xvii] https://mccourt.georgetown.edu/news/how-do-policymakers-decide-whom-to-help/

[xviii] “Jurors possess unique qualities that cannot be replicated by AI systems, such as empathy, common sense, and the ability to evaluate witness credibility based on non-verbal cues.
In the future of jury trials, AI should be seen as a tool that supports and enhances human decision-making, rather than replacing it.”  Source: Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. https://www.theclm.org/Magazine/articles/ai-and-the-future-of-jury-trials/2731#:~:text=Jurors%20possess%20unique%20qualities%20that,making%2C%20rather%20than%20replacing%20it.

[xix] https://chopwoodcarrywaterllc.com/index.php/2023/11/27/state-level-policymaking-bodies-and-organizations-weather-climate-analogies-relating-to-policy-determination/

[xx] https://chopwoodcarrywaterllc.com/index.php/2023/11/27/state-level-policymaking-bodies-and-organizations-weather-climate-analogies-relating-to-policy-determination/

State-level policymaking bodies and organizations: ‘weather, climate analogies’ relating to policy determination

“The Line Storm” / 1935,  John Steuart Curry  U.S. artist (1897–1946). [i]


Once I dipt into the future far as  

human eye could see,

and I saw the Chief Forecaster,

dead as any one can be.

dead and damned and shut in

Hades as a liar from his birth,

with a record of unreason

seldom paralleled on earth.

while I looked, he reared him

solemnly, that incandescent youth,

from the coals that he’dpreferred to the advantages of truth.

he cast his eyes about him and

above him; then he wrote

on a slab of thin asbestos what

I venture here to quote,

for I read it in the rose-light of

the everlasting glow:

“Cloudy, variable winds, with

local showers; cooler, snow.”[iii]

 Pop Quiz:

  1. Name at least one of the four common weather fronts recognized by meteorologists.
  2. T or F. There are few microclimates in West Virginia, although the definition of microclimates varies.
  3. T or F. Weather proverbs are telling, although not always exact.
  4. T or F. Altitudes affect elevations differently.

(Answers in Endnote.[iv])


Those reared on farms gain inordinate respect for weather.

Farmers augur about the weather, relying largely on scientific forecasting accuracy. My grandmother, however, also had  allegiance to  “signs of the Moon.”[v]

When a wiseacre eldest grandson confronted her with the incongruence of her normative Christian faith and its admonitions against astrology,[vi] she responded with matriarchal pragmatism – “Maybe. Maybe not.”

Farming involves gambling with the weather:

Farmers rely on good weather to grow our food – too much rain can lead to rotting plants, and sufficient rainfall makes it difficult to grow crops and feed animals. Too much wind can make planting difficult, and freezing temperatures can stunt plant growth. [vii]

Mixing climatology and meteorology:[viii]

Land and weather go hand in hand when determining everyday forecasts. As the atmosphere moves over different types of terrain, weather characteristics change.

Let’s consider an analogy based on state-level policymakers ‘residing’ at higher altitudes or elevations. [ix]

From these climes, policymakers’ actions affect those at various organizational “elevations,” especially at the ‘ground-level.’ [x]

Operating from higher elevations, policymakers “view”  ground-happenings from a 30,000, 360-degree vantage. [xi]

Those on the ground may fear policymakers’ aims will disrupt or disturb the long-negotiated ‘balance’ that exists between the organization as a whole and its segments, comprising the evolved architecture of how the organization works, reinforced by its culture to protect core “non-negotiable” values. [xii]

Not surprisingly, state-level policymakers may conclude this organizational ‘balance’ impedes policymakers’ aims, including higher-level results, outputs, efficiencies.



“Weatherproofing” allows organizations to modify, mitigate or reshape state-level policymakers’ aims.

“Cant” is the most basic weatherproofing[xiv] – (often can’t or won’t to state-level policymakers, rhetoric, “happy talk”[xv] or even hooey to others). Cant serves as worthy weatherproofing until policymakers embrace other truths, readying such to achieve concentrated policy aims. Note: Based on this writer’s work with state-level policymaking bodies, both rationality and expansiveness, the tension between those two ideals provides a format for policymaking. Paraphrasing poet T.S. Eliot,  “’All significant (policymaker or organizational) truths are private (policymaker or organizational) truths.’” The melding of those “private truths,”  as held by both policymaking bodies and organizations, inform the policymaking process, creating sound policy.

Weatherproofing is also typified by the linguistic conjunction ‘but,’ with especial emphasis on contrasts: “the  sky is brilliant, clear, sunshiny, but its’s very cold.” This weatherproofing signals the organization “acknowledges” state-level policymakers’ aims have some merit, but with these reservations.

The above weatherproofing examples amount to “typecasting,”[xvi] which, like weather-forecasting, relies upon “longitudinal” or historic organizational responses applied to current, prevailing, or prospective  policymakers’  aims.

Other examples of weatherproofing:

  • Organizations “negotiate” outcomes to alter policymakers’ aims. Bartering requires both political and organizational leadership and membership cachet. Admittedly, policymakers often invite organizations into varying degrees of dialogue concerning contemplated policy emphases – sometimes providing nudges for “negotiating” prospective rules, regulations or statutes.
  • ‘We’re against this.’ Organizations object to policymakers’ aims through campaigns, implementational inaction of laws, or litigation. This approach, which may prove costly in a longitudinal political sense, prevails if the organization leverages support of its leadership and members, especially if combined with public, news media or constituencies’ favor.
  • Third-way political stratagem.[xvii] Organizations optimize potential through fluidity, nimbleness and adaptiveness strategies without loss of membership or allies’ support.

Other analogies.

Policymaking weather or climate analogies include:

  • “Red at night, sailors’ delight; red at morning, sailors’ warning,” relating to forecasting or predictability.[xviii]
  • Microclimates relate to the granular nature of policy shifts which may affect intra-organizational constituencies discretely. [xix]
  • Clear day visibility, although the norm, is subject to weather vagaries.[xx]

Sunshine/rain happen.

No less than Scripture tells us “…the sun rises on the evil and the good…and rain on the just and unjust.” (Matthew 5:45-47 – KJV).

Indeed, to be effective in its advocacy, auguring isn’t necessary. Rather, by ensuring its rhetoric and actions are multidimensional, the organization becomes a valued resource to shape and guide policy. Instead of the facile but ineffectual “either-or,” the organization operates from a “both-and” dialectic, realizing that sunshine/rain happen, meaning concentration of organizational resources and energies to what’s best for the organization prospectively, meaning organizational leaders or “influencers” forgo the instinctive maintenance of a house built upon the sands of past accomplishments: everyone else – surprise, surprise – has moved on. As poet Mark Strand says, “’The future is always beginning now’.” The effective organization sees the clearing ahead. Instead of surrendering non-negotiable core values, effective organizational advocacy includes locating a – the – ‘clearing’ in which to inform and aid policymakers. This occurs through reliance on varying strata of both entrenched and emergent core values, playing the hand (or both hands) as situations demand. In times of policy transition, organizational fixation on ‘stationary patterns’ results in landscapes much like those littered by bad weather: not pretty and a lot of clean-up.

Indeed, West Virginians know a thing or two about ravages of bad weather. We rebuild. Neighbor helping neighbor, rebuking today’s rampant tribalism.

Every organization committed to this state, builds for the future, fashioning the present as the vista that is the future rather than clinging to the ready, easy gateway the past provided.

As Hubert H. Humphrey, 38th U.S. Vice President said, “Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts – it’s what have left.” Or, paraphrasing poet Emily Dickinson, to “…dwell in possibility,” combined with an Eastern aphorism: “Great Faith. Great Doubt. Great Effort.” – gateways to sound policymaking.[xxi]

You see, folks, trade groups and not-for-profits and non-profit organizations build West Virginia’s future by looking ahead, making the best of whatever sailing winds they are thrown.

Next posts.

How? In the next two blog posts, let’s explore strategies that maximize organizational effectiveness, given an entrenched and emergent “core-values” emphasis.

[i] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Steuart_Curry_-_The_Line_Storm.jpg

[ii]  Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), U.S. satirist, author of “The Devil’s Dictionary.”

[iii]  Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), U.S. satirist, author of “The Devil’s Dictionary.”

[iv] Pop Quiz:

  1. Name at least one of the four common weather fronts recognized by meteorologists / Cold Front, Warm Front, Stationary Front, Occluded Front / https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/how-weather-works/weather-fronts#:~:text=There%20are%20four%20different%20types,stationary%20fronts%2C%20and%20occluded%20fronts
  2. T or F. There are few microclimates in West Virginia, although the definition of microclimates varies. (Refer to EN xvii.)
  3. T or F. Weather proverbs are telling, although not always exact. (Refer to EN xvi.)
  4. T or F. Altitudes affect elevations differently. (Refer to EN viii.)

[v] http://www.soilcropandmore.info/Newsletter/Zodiac/PlantingByTheMoon.htm

[vi] https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-does-the-bible-say-about-astrology.html serves as a representative read.


[viii] https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/weather-vs-climate#:~:text=Whereas%20weather%20refers%20to%20short,regions%20can%20have%20different%20climates.

[ix] https://www.theoi.com/Protogenos/Ourea.html / Civilization invariably use higher realms, especially mountains, as sites of power and authority.

[x] As state climatologist Kevin Law, Ph.D., West Virginia State Climatologist, Marshall University Professor Department of Geography states, “(One) typically references ‘elevation’ when (one is) referring to the land as in the height above sea level. For example, Huntington may have an approximate elevation of 600 ft above sea level. ‘Altitude’ is typically referred to as a height in the atmosphere and is commonly used by pilots. Actually, there are different types of altitude referenced by pilots. (Based on email exchange with author.)  Since weather occurs in the atmosphere, we typically reference clouds at certain “altitudes” in the atmosphere, but they impact people at different ‘elevations’ on the ground.”

[xi] These are representatives readings. As one will note, not all scholars appreciate the 30,000 feet concept.
/ https://nanoglobals.com/glossary/30000-foot-view/ https://organizationimpact.com/perspective-30000-feet-weeds-somewhere-middle/

[xii] Refer to inaugural blog entry: (Scott add reference.)

[xiii] Representative definition: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/weatherproofing

[xiv] language peculiar to a specified group or profession and regarded with disparagement. (Oxford dictionary)

[xv] optimistic talk. According to most sources, the term is appropriated from  “Happy Talk,” a show tune from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.

[xvi] https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/typecast#:~:text=To%20typecast%20someone%20is%20to,roles%20over%20and%20over%20again.

[xvii] These are representative readings: Clinton’s 3rd Way https://publicsociology.berkeley.edu/publications_pdfs/producing/weir.pdf /The Collapse of Bill Clinton’s Third Way /Margaret Weir University of California, Berkeley /https://academic.oup.com/book/705/chapter-abstract/135378831?redirectedFrom=fulltext /
https://academic.oup.com/book/705/chapter-abstract/135378831?redirectedFrom=fullte My use of the term is general.

[xviii] Within limits, there is truth in this saying.https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/meteorology-climatology/item/is-the-old-adage-red-sky-at-night-sailors-delight-red-sky-in-morning-sailors-warning-true-or-is-it-just-an-old-wives-tale/ Also refer to https://www.weather.gov/rah/virtualtourfcstobsanalysis#:~:text=Weather%20forecasts%20are%20made%20by,how%20the%20atmosphere%20will%20evole regarding the National Weather Service’s means of weather forecasting.

[xix] As Dr. Law explains: “(…The number of microclimates in WV  is “…a difficult (question). It’s true there are a large number of “microclimates” throughout the state, perhaps even “thousands” as you said someone had testified (Editor’s Note: during interminable legislative hearings relating to school calendar and prompts for “calling off school” because of inclement weather). However, those ‘thousands’ are not entirely unique and different from each other. Let me explain:  Around your home/property, you may have a microclimate next to your house as plants are protected from frost by absorbing heat from the exterior (brick) of the house. You may have another microclimate that is on your property at the bottom of a hill where cold air collects at night and frequently gets frost. Then you may have another microclimate on your property at the top of the hill, that may be protected from frosts due to temperature inversions that can form at night. A neighbor down the road could have another 3 or perhaps more microclimates around their property. You can see how the overall number of microclimates quickly add up, but your neighbor’s group of microclimates, are probably not much different than yours.

[xx][xx] As Dr. Law states, “The official meteorological definition of “visibility” is the greatest distance you can see in any given direction with the unaided eye along the horizon. For example, at the airports if they report a 10 mi visibility, the skies are fairly clear.”

Finally, Dr. Law recommends:


  • Scientific American regarding an explanation to one of the most famous weather proverbs: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-there-scientific-valid/
  • Author George Freier work, containing a variety of old weather proverbs and folklore and explains their validity: https://www.amazon.com/Weather-proverbs-sayings-accurately-explain/dp/1555610102

[xxi] https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52197/i-dwell-in-possibility-466 (Literary analysist contend Dickinson is comparing prose to poetry, with poetry having great latitude for expansive thinking, including this representative read: https://www.litcharts.com/poetry/emily-dickinson/i-dwell-in-possibility#:~:text=The%20speaker%20discusses%20what%20makes,which%20Dickinson%20dedicated%20her%20life.