Old school Cossacks: thundered off the steppes in bloodthirsty hordes, fearsome warriors, rumored to tuck ears of enemies under saddleblankets in lieu of provisions during raids.

New-school Kossacks: more tippety-tap than thundering, not so much with the ear eating, fearsome and effective in rallying support for renewable energy.

HR 550 is the largest, most important piece of solar legislation ever introduced in the U.S. Here is a story about how they are making it happen:

Subject: Let’s Get Organized and DO Something!

Hello Enviros,

There are 207 of us spread nationwide.  That means we have the potential to reach 207 congressional reps regarding co-sponsorship of the “The Securing America’s Energy Independence Act of 2007” (S. 590 – H.R. 550)

That’s more than the entire Senate and almost half the House of Representatives

For more info on the bill see:

http://thomas.loc.gov/

http://www.alternative-power.com/APE_newsletter.htm

Bill status:

Senate: only 15 co-sponsors
House: only 54 co-sponsors

Getting a personal commitment to co-sponsor a bill, however good, is often not easy, but doable.

Here’s my story —

My U.S. Rep is a decent person-some say one of the best on progressive issues. She was NOT signed on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 550 though renewable energy is an issue near and dear to her. I could only assume that she and/or her staff were simply not paying attention by virtue of the fact that they are often overwhelmed.

I live in an unusual area where constituents are not afraid of asking their congressionals for anything and everything. The problem here is getting yourself and your issue noticed.

I had to devise a plan beginning a week out from an in-district appearance at a global warming solutions forum at our local university.

I started an on line petition, launched an email campaign and had associates call her staff in-district and in D.C. to give them a head’s up regarding a potential “egg on face” situation. If she were not properly briefed on the biggest extension and expansion of the solar tax credit since Reagan tried to kill it and were not aware of the need to co-sponsor the bill while appearing in front of a forum on “global warming solutions,”this could look very bad.

Ooops …

I spoke with her personally on her way into the event. She indicated she had been recently brief and was inclined to sign when she got back to D.C.

Fortunately, during the Q&A session someone who had gotten my email told her that he was “very disappointed to hear that very day” she was not a co-sponsor of that solar bill. She knew exactly what he was talking about and committed to signing-on in front of more than 200 people. I aggressively led a round of applause.

Yes, the stars aligned for me. You can engineer that they do for you as well.

Take advantage of any upcoming in-district appearance as your opportunity.

A week prior to her appearance at the forum, she held a listening session on health care in a small, nearby suburban community. TWO people showed up. I thought it would be a full house and didn’t go. Had I gone, I could have had a serious one-on-one with her for more than an hour.  ARGHHH!!!

Yes. Showing up is half the battle; sometimes most of the battle.

Commitment, organization, planning and a bit of borderline “stalking” pays-off big.

This effort to snag a new co-sponsor was largely a “one-person” operation, but I had assistance along the way.

Break the effort into steps as best you can and assign tasks: writing the on line petition, drafting the email, broadcasting your message to gain support, tracking your congressional and attending events. Enlist at least one other person to help. Two or three additional sets of hands is optimal.

To make this easier for those of you who are intrepid, I will share the petition (on line and paper,) broadcast email message and other assorted helpful documents and any advice to get you started.

I think this an effort worthy of dailykos-enviros.

The bill is not perfect, but it is a start — and the solar credits WILL expire in 2008 if we don’t act.  I fully expect a “pile-on” of many renewable interests at some point. Anything can happen and probably will. Hopefully, they will all be good for renewable energy.

Please contact me for more information and update the gmail group on your progress.

XXXX (name redacted)
flatsville@gmail.com