Civil War Trust – Preserving America’s History

Civil War pic
Civil War
Image: civilwar.org

Martin Milita serves as a senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies, a firm providing the full spectrum of government relations services, from business development to legislative lobbying. Outside of his work with DMGS, Martin Milita supports nonprofits like the Civil War Trust, which maintains as its primary mission the preservation of Civil War battlegrounds.

Today, much of the land that served as the site of battles during the Civil War has been or is in danger of being destroyed by development. In fact, only 20 percent of battlefields are protected as part of local, state, or national parks, or through the work of nonprofits like the Civil War Trust. As development continues, the trust estimates that the United States is losing important battlegrounds at the rate of one acre per hour.

To combat the loss of these historic sites, the Civil War Trust multiplies donations from both private and public entities to purchase land. In the past years, it has matched every dollar donated by members with outside grants, multiplying private donations by a factor of four. Over the years, the trust has used these funds to preserve over 40,000 acres of historically significant land.

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Lobbying 101-The Best Time to Lobby

The Best Time to Lobby

Several weeks before a bill is considered at any level, Elected’s  and their staffs’ meet to plan strategies and take positions on a bill. If your lobbying effort is too late, a decision may have already been made. If you lobby too early, the impact of the lobbying effort may have been lost in the intervening time.

The best time to lobby is when a representative or senator is considering writing or sponsoring a bill that will benefit or harm your cause. If you make your position known at this stage, you have a greater opportunity to influence the legislation or even kill the Bill.

For example, Preservationists can participate in many different ways as a bill progresses through its many stages toward enactment. You should inform your representative or senators of your position on a bill soon after it is introduced and suggest any changes you would like to see made. If its positive for you, encourage them to show their support by becoming a cosponsor of the bill, or, if a negative, ask them to oppose the legislation.

Two or three weeks before a proposal is at a decision point in the legislative process, reinforce your position with a letter, phone call, e-mail, or personal visit..

Follow the bill’s process closely. You will need to reinforce your position with your member and other members as the bill reaches each step of the legislative process.

Lobbying during election time: Election time and during campaigns offer a perfect opportunity for grassroots lobbyists.  Candidates of both parties will spend time in their districts, giving you the chance to attend candidate forums, debates, or other gatherings to ask for their views on preservation to keep to our example. These public forums will expose preservation issues and the candidate’s stand on them to a broader audience. This is also the time to submit questions on preservation to candidates during meetings, public forums, or when they are canvassing a neighborhood. Try to elicit specific commitments of support. These become powerful lobbying tools later.

Candidates at all levels of government respond to voting power. Your vote can be a positive force. After the election, congratulate the winning candidate and offer your assistance on legislation affecting historic preservation.

Remember, a bill must be passed by both the lower and upper houses.  If your representative is not sympathetic to an issue, lobby your senator and vice versa.

Martin Milita is a senior director  with Duane Morris Government Strategies, a consultancy and lobbying firm that represents clients seeking the support of state- and federal-level government agencies. Commanding a career that spans more than three decades, Martin Milita possesses extensive experience serving private and public sector clients in legislative affairs and activities. Martin Milita holds a Bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics from King’s College and a Juris Doctor from the James E. Beasley School of Law at Temple University.

Eliminating all welfare transfer programs with a cash grant to everyone age twenty-one or older

Charles Murray, a libertarian,  writes that America’s population is wealthier than any in history (In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State). Every year, the American government redistributes more than a trillion dollars of that wealth to provide for retirement, health care, and the alleviation of poverty. We still have millions of people without comfortable retirements, without adequate health care, and living in poverty. Only a government can spend so much money so ineffectually. The solution is to give the money to the people. This is the Plan, a radical new approach to social policy that defies any partisan label. Murray suggests eliminating all welfare transfer programs at the federal, state, and local levels and substituting an annual $10,000 cash grant to everyone age twenty-one or older. In Our Hands describes the financial feasibility of the Plan and its effects on retirement, health care, poverty, marriage and family, work, neighborhoods and civil society. For those who are aware In Our Hands? d0 you agree or disagree with many basic income advocates, and participation income advocates in particular, that a guaranteed minimum income could promote a resurgence of private and community-based initiatives to address complex social problems and challenges as Murray suggests?

Employed as senior director of Duane Morris Government Strategies, LLC, based in Trenton, New Jersey, Martin Milita advises clients on all forms of public policy. Prior to joining the firm in 2012, he served as managing partner of Holman Public Affairs, LLC, which he cofounded in 2001. Dedicating to helping others, Martin Milita donates his time outside of working hours to several charitable endeavors, one of which is The Civil War Trust, the largest battlefield preservation group in the country. The Civil War Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit group that has preserved 40,000 acres of land in 20 states recently acquired Robert E.Lee’s headquarters to preserve as part of the Gettysburg Historical battlefield- is one of the most important unprotected historic structures in America.