ALEC Strengthens Connection During COVID-19
New communication opportunities arise during pandemic
In 100 years, America has weathered the storm of four pandemics. Today, we are in the midst of the fifth. One of the responses to the 1918 pandemic was to implement isolation and quarantine. At that time, this halted communication between friends, family and colleagues. 2020 tells a different story.
Schooling, working and socializing has shifted to the virtual world almost completely. Family holiday celebrations are on Zoom, students are FaceTiming teachers for homework help and conference calls have kept the workforce well-oiled. Despite the circumstances, people are connecting. And at ALEC, we saw the endless opportunities in this new tele-living reality to connect with our members in new ways.
The technology has always been there, but at first glimpse of the crisis it scaled to meet our new needs. And as an ally guided by freedom and Federalism, our ALEC team quickly rebounded from the stay-at-home orders to provide even more resources, policy education and open conversation to your screens. We, too, scaled to meet the new needs of our members, our governments and our society. Our podcast, Across the States, ramped up from one release a week to two. Our policy team shared 30 policy prescriptions in response to COVID-19, all available on our website.
And for the last month, the peak of each week has been the ALEC-exclusive Zoom conference calls between our members and leaders of the federal agencies championing America’s charge to safely reopen society. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos all took time to sit down and speak with our ALEC family about the locally executed, state managed and federally supported response to COVID-19. Each call heard questions from state legislators from East Coast to West, and our memorable guests affirmed that the states are more empowered to act than ever before.
Jonathon Hauenschild, Director of our Communications and Technology Task Force perfectly highlights how our communications technologies have been a bright silver lining to the dark cloud of COVID-19:
“While many of us are working from home, unable to physically meet with our friends and co-workers, innovations and advancements in communications technologies– from high speed internet to platforms allowing for large groups of people to see and talk with each other– have provided the opportunities to gather virtually and hear from experts that, otherwise, few of us would be able to access. State legislators can use technologies to touch their constituents like never before, learn from high ranking officials, and correspond with each other.”
And with this increased access, ALEC is connecting our members and our members are taking it one step further. During our call with Secretary DeVos, Missouri Representative Justin Hill shared his screen with 18 other colleagues at the MO Capitol on a lunch break. Our policy experts are holding conference calls with members every week, and our public playlist features shareable interviews and discussions on issues regarding COVID-19.
Our ALEC team is proud to act as a convening force, especially during a time of crisis. That’s why we are full steam ahead for our 2020 Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. In the weeks to come we will continue to provide resources of the virtual variety as our states begin phased reopening, all the while operating all-hands-on-deck to ensure our in-person meeting in July is your first stop for solutions as our society gets back to business.