GO! Grassroots Optometry

What is Grassroots Optometry?

Go LogoGO! is Michigan's answer to the problems optometry encountered in developing and maintaining influence in our state legislative process in the era of term limits. It is a system of political action tools designed by optometric leaders and administrated by a professional political action coordinator who works for the lobbying firm retained by the MOA. The Grassroots Optometry professionals work with OD's to meet three goals:

Organization and communications - A statewide network of OD's in each Senate and House District is maintained and utilized to coordinate political activities, track contributions and provide information on legislative issues and events. 

Financial Resource Development - A Pledge System targeting every registered Michigan OD is established requesting an annual commitment of funds from all optometrists in the state. When funds are needed for a legislator or candidate, individual checks are solicited by Team Leaders within the applicable Senate or House District from those who have pledged, as well as from local OD's. Careful records are kept to track total contributions to each recipient and to recognize those who contribute.

Human Resource Development - Not every doctor of optometry is comfortable with a political action role. GO! not only coordinates political activities, but it is also responsible for education and training OD's to be politically effective.

Why did we develop Grassroots Optometry?

We wanted to strengthen optometry's influence in the Michigan Legislature to allow us to realistically meet our legislative goals. As a direct result of term limits, there is a continuous rapid turnover in the state legislature. The majority of our lawmakers have far less experience in dealing with our issues compared to those who served before term limits. House members must work harder to prepare for their roles as leaders at the start of only their second term. Another reality of term limits is that we must also work much harder to deliver optometry's message to legislators. Every year we face a major effort to build new relationships between legislators, optometrists and MOA's professional staff.

How is Grassroots Optometry organized?

A GO! Task Force of OD's set policy for the GO! Coordinator, each serving as a mentor for a Regional Director. The State of Michigan is divided into geographic regions headed by volunteer OD's who serve as Regional Directors. Each region has four to six Senate Districts, each represented by a Senate Team Leader who recruits House Team Leaders for each of the four or five House Districts within the Senate District. Each House Team Leader is responsible for contacting the OD's within his or her House District. The "tree," thus created, allows requests for contributions and active campaign support to reach every OD, with news about optometry issues and events.