I once heard a preacher say, “…your setbacks are setups for a comeback.” I am excited about the opportunity to use this time to take a fresh look at how we advocate for the profession, not only for today, but for years to come.
The 87th Texas Legislation Session has officially convened, but neither Austin nor State Capitol look anything like the last session in 2019. Our House and Senate are independently implementing COVID-19 safety protocols while capacity limits have been established in the Capitol to restrict the number of daily visitors. It is important to note the work, even in these very different times, must continue. Advocacy as we once knew it is no more, but perhaps the COVID-19 constraints have opened a door —- or maybe a window —- for us to pivot in a new direction.
Colleagues, I am looking forward to Architects Day 2021! We will be equipping our membership with the tools and resources to advocate for our profession and community in a focused and meaningful way that goes beyond a single-day experience. Within your Architects Day registration, we are requesting that you provide your home address. This is extremely important for us to build a critical mass as we identify others in your area who are represented by the same elected officials. It is our intent to schedule subsequent targeted virtual meetings with your State Representatives, State Senators, and their respective staff. Our desired outcomes are to not only influence policy, but most importantly, to empower our members to begin cultivating sustainable relationships with elected officials as the work of our profession progresses.
A spotlight is on our political process with the recent transition in power. Our profession also needs to ready itself for the upcoming midterm elections. Our state advocates in the House and Senate will need our help in fighting the good fight for our communities. By supporting our Political Action Organization, the Texas Architects Committee (TAC) will serve as the medium by which we maintain an active government relations program to promote the interest of our members. I encourage each of you to consider joining me in making an annual or monthly contribution to TAC.
Empowerment is key to the evolution of our advocacy efforts. We are embarking into uncharted territory and I look forward to pressing forward with each of you. You probably could not image this, but I was a drum major in high school, and a part of my duty was to teach drill commands to the new fish. The infamous “About Face” is a 180 degree turn back towards the direction from whence one has come. The year 2020 is in our rearview mirrors. I hope that in lieu of turning back to a more comfortable level of advocacy, we instead set our movement forward, pivoting to the left, right, or an oblique angle in a new and fresh direction. “Architects Right Face…. March.”
Derwin Broughton, AIA, is a Principal at KAI. He currently serves on the TxA Board as the Vice-President of Advocacy.