Experts Promote Reinvestment Push
The Polsinelli team can offer expertise and legislative knowledge.
By Lyn Stoesen, News Staff
has hired consulting firm Polsinelli Shalton Flanigan Suelthaus
PC to provide federal lobbying services to promote the aims of
NASW's Social Work Reinvestment Initiative (SWRI).
Polsinelli has assembled a team to work on the project, led by
Anita Estell. The firm began working with NASW in mid-June.
"NASW's government relations staff will work with the Polsinelli
team to advance this initiative," explained NASW General
Counsel Carolyn Polowy. "The firm has special expertise that
will help us reach SWRI goals."
Polowy said that team leader Estell's background as staff member
for the House Appropriations Committee is crucial, because appropriations
are an important part of the legislative goals of SWRI. "The
breadth and depth of her experience and contacts will make her
an invaluable asset," Polowy said.
SWRI is a coordinated effort to recruit, retain and retrain social
workers. It is led by the ANSWER (Action Network for Social Work
Education and Research) Coalition in collaboration with NASW.
The initiative was launched during NASW's 2006 Annual Leadership
Meeting and builds on the work of the 2005 Social Work Congress,
the National Social Work Public Education Campaign, and a landmark
study of the licensed social work labor force.
NASW assembled a review committee to select the consulting firm
for SWRI from among the three firms that were approached to submit
proposals. The team included NASW Executive Director Elizabeth
J. Clark; government relations staff Jim Finley and Lawrence Moore;
Special Assistant to the Executive Director Rebecca Myers; Polowy;
and Joan Zlotnik, executive director of the Institute for the
Advancement of Social Work Research, who is helping develop SWRI.
Polowy said that the firms were evaluated based on their legislative
knowledge and their expertise in regulatory outreach, education,
public relations, capacity building and political alliances.
The firm will assist with the development of the federal and
grassroots strategies for SWRI, will help identify and develop
contacts and connections to key legislators, will help coordinate
current resources and will assist in developing legislative language
Polsinelli offered a proposal with a detailed strategy and timetable
for advancing SWRI. Elements of the proposal include assessing
the state of current legislation that relates to the initiative;
expanding outreach on Capitol Hill through meetings and grassroots
advocacy; conducting targeted Hill briefings and town hall meetings;
requesting opportunities to testify before relevant congressional
subcommittees; and promoting social work lobby day efforts.
"Our role will be to supplement, not supplant, your extraordinary
strengths," the Polsinelli proposal stated. "Where appropriate,
[we] will work to coordinate legislative efforts through local
NASW programs and chapter organizations, the membership database
and academic professionals."
Polsinelli was established in 1972, has offices in seven cities
and employs more than 300 lawyers and other professionals. The
Washington, D.C., office team has more than 80 years of combined
experience on federal issues relevant to NASW's interests. Previously,
the firm has represented organizations such as the Sickle Cell
Disease Association of American and the United Negro College Fund.
Anita Estell, who will lead the team working with NASW, has worked
in public policy and lobbying for 20 years and is the first African
American woman partner to be hired by a major independent lobbying
firm in Washington.
Estell is a former Clinton appointee. She worked as chief of
staff for Johnnetta Cole on the Clinton/Gore Transition Team and
as a senior adviser to U.S. Department of Education Secretary
Richard Riley. Before her work with the Clinton administration,
she served in an appointed position on the House Appropriations
Committee where she monitored and managed legislative initiatives
related to the budget and national security.
In her position with Polsinelli, Estell works with high-ranking
administration officials and staff, members of Congress and their
staff, and on researching, drafting and submitting recommendations,
testimony and other materials to Congress. Her areas of expertise
include minority health, HIV/AIDS, transportation, education,
science and technology, energy and environment, telecommunications,
correctional health care, community development, international
development, arts and entertainment.
In its proposal, the firm summarized the current environment
in Congress and concluded that "NASW has a narrow and unique
opportunity to strengthen its efforts and accomplishments in a
number of key areas, but most notably in the area of securing
support and adoption of its Social Work Reinvestment Initiative.
"Key components of SWRI that will be supported by [Polsinelli]
include garnering increased support for legislative efforts related
to loan forgiveness; continuing support of the child welfare training
entitlement; . . . and securing adoption and funding of the National
Center for Social Work Research Act . . . and the Strengthen Social
Work Training Act," the proposal stated.
For SWRI information: www.socialworkreinvestment.org/
From July 2007 NASW News. © 2007 National
Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. NASW News
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