We have a strong tradition of advocacy at AIA Virginia.

There are many agents and elements in our advocacy toolkit.

The primary agents include the Advocacy Advisory Council, the PAC Board of Trustees, the Joint Legislative Committee, and our lobbyist Patrick Cushing.

Our activities include letters insisting on compliance with (and citing violation of) established selection and procurement protocols, legislative activities, regulatory activities, service commitments such as the Disaster Assistance Committee, and gubernatorial appointments to the APELSCIDLA Board, the Fair Housing Board, etc. No less importantly, they also include the engagement and commitment provided by each of us in our role as citizen architects.

In aggregate, these efforts seek to educate others on the value of our profession, shape and inform policy, advise on the implications of regulation and legislation, improve the conditions of practice, remove unnecessary barriers/impediments, and contribute to the safety and health of our built environment.

Our pride in our past and ongoing efforts is justified. Much has been accomplished.

Indeed, our members consistently rank advocacy, which is particularly appropriate to the state-level component, as a leading factor in determining the value of their membership. It gives us great pleasure to deliver that value.

And yet the field of play is ever-changing. Challenges and opportunities emerge constantly. Conditions and circumstances emerge and recede. The force and vector of the prevailing winds shift around the political compass rose.

There is little time for celebration. There is no time for complacency. Vigilance can ill afford respite.

We also owe it to our members to continuously improve the effectiveness and impact of our advocacy efforts. We need to be more intentional in determining and coordinating the effort appropriate to each of the seasons of advocacy; to consider when to clear, till, fallow, sow, tend, and reap.

And so, Ed Gillikin, Eliza Engle, Maggie Dunlap, Nicholas Wade, Rebecca Aarons-Sydnor, Sandra Leibowitz, Stephen Weisensale, Tim Colley, and William Abrahamson, joined Patrick Cushing and myself to assess the status of each of the elements and to begin to develop a comprehensive plan to better coordinate our advocacy efforts and to identify, vet, articulate, prioritize, establish, and achieve the planks of our advocacy platform.

The specifics of those proposed programs and procedures will require effort and attention. Information will be provided as they are developed. Ultimately, each and all of our councils, committees, and members can and should contribute.

I thank those who continue to participate in our advocacy efforts and to those who collaborated in the summit. If you would like to learn more about or contribute to our advocacy efforts, please contact Paul Battaglia at pbattaglia@aiava.org

(Clockwise from lower left) William Abrahamson, Rebecca Aarons-Sydnor, Sandra Leibowitz, Nicholas Wade, Eliza Engle, Maggie Dunlap, Patrick Cushing, Tim Colley, Ed Gillikin, and Stephen Weisensale at the 2023 Advocacy Summit; not pictured: Paul R. Battaglia. Photo courtesy of Paul Battaglia.