• December 10, 2021

What’s Ahead For Your Team in 2022

From state legislative sessions and fly-ins to a major midterm election, there’s a lot of work ahead next year—and a lot of opportunity. Here's what government affairs teams can expect in 2022.

If you thought that 2021 was a challenge for government affairs teams, next year might cause you to redefine that term.

Days after we ring in the New Year, state legislative sessions will begin nationwide and fly-in season will start soon after. Add in a midterm election that will set the course of politics for years and the variables that come with the pandemic and it becomes clear that there’s a lot of work ahead—and a lot of opportunity.

At Capitol Canary, we work with more than 1,200 organizations and we talk to government affairs professionals daily about their experiences and what they see ahead. Here are some of the challenges government affairs teams can expect to face in 2022.

State Legislative Sessions

State legislatures in 46 states will launch their sessions beginning in January, introducing tens of thousands of bills on topics from infrastructure and education to public safety and public health. One thing to watch is how hundreds of voting rights bills, some already approved and some pending, will impact how people vote in November.

Action in most states moves fast, and a bill can travel from introduction to a floor vote in a matter of weeks, and sometimes days. Smart teams will have a monitoring system in place to ensure they don’t miss something critical. To understand more about how monitoring will give you an edge, read The Case for Legislative Tracking.

Fly-ins and Lobby Days

While most organizations are already planning their fly-ins and lobby days, both in Washington and the state capitals, the pandemic has introduced a major variable. It is unclear whether the state of public health will allow for in-person meetings months from now, and with new variants arriving regularly, savvy government affairs teams are making contingency plans.

Organizations like Susan G. Komen have had strong success with virtual fly-ins. Komen assembled 40 teams to carry out 150 congressional meetings. All in one day. All virtual. To learn more about how to take your lobby day digital, read How to Host a Virtual Fly-in.

The Midterm Elections

Nothing will impact next year’s policy landscape like the 2022 elections. The midterms will dominate the national conversation, slow the flow of legislation in Washington and impact decisions by policymakers at every level.

And why not? It is hard to overstate how much is at stake. With all 435 members of the House and 34 Senators on the ballot, the election will decide which party controls Congress and the future of the Biden administration’s agenda. It will also shape the presidential contest in 2024. In the states, roughly 8 out of every 10 legislators—more than 6,000 seats—will face voters and 36 governors are on the ballot.

Organizations will want to plan their outreach and GOTV efforts, sharpen rapid response capabilities and be ready to adjust to the tumult that comes with hundreds of simultaneous federal campaigns. To learn what your team should do now to prepare, read The 2022 Elections Already Started.

Social Justice and DEI

America’s conversation over social justice is likely to continue in 2022, fueled by trials, court cases, protests and advocacy. While some companies have avoided that conversation in decades past, that is no longer a viable strategy. Positioning on social issues is now a market expectation in many industries. To learn more about what your company can do, read Corporate Activism is Mainstream.

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts will also be ongoing next year. Smart government affairs teams will be looking to play a leadership role in their organizations, using advocacy to augment DEI efforts and make a positive impact. To learn how, read How Government Relations Advances DEI Goals.

Rural Outreach

The role of rural voters is likely to be a popular topic in 2022 as the midterm election takes hold. Many organizations will be looking to increase rural outreach, both to impact next year’s races and to prepare for larger efforts in the 2024 presidential race.

Organizations that want to increase outreach in rural areas will have work to do. The strategies and tools needed to carry your message to rural America may require you to deviate from your current playbook. To learn more about what works, read Top Tools to Reach a Rural Audience.

Zoom Fatigue

Many of the organizations we work with say that it is harder to get facetime—virtual or in person—with lawmakers in Washington, thanks to enhanced security on Capitol Hill, pandemic-related health concerns, and a wave of Zoom fatigue. Next year’s election will make this worse as lawmakers prioritize fundraising and campaigning, spending more time in their districts.

When the standard channels fail to produce results, successful organizations adopt new tactics. The organizations that will break through are those that get creative with their outreach, whether that means communicating through constituents more effectively, working in districts or employing earned media. To learn more, read 6 Ideas to Help You Get Meetings.