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Associate Director, Congressional Relations

The American Optometric Association is currently seeking an Associate Director, Congressional Relations!

About the American Optometric Association and the Federal Advocacy Team
The American Optometric Association (AOA) is the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals, and optometry students. Doctors of optometry take a leading role in patient care with respect to eye and vision care, as well as general health and well-being. As primary health care providers, doctors of optometry have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat, and manage ocular disorders, diseases and injuries, and systemic diseases that manifest in the eye. Doctors of optometry provide more than two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S.

The AOA federal advocacy team is a tight-knit group of seasoned advocates housed in the association’s satellite office located in Old Town Alexandria. Our passionate in-house lobbyists and accomplished outside consultants are fully supported by a network of dedicated volunteer leaders. The advocacy team helps oversee our active and growing PAC and our sizeable grassroots advocacy network of doctors and students in every Congressional district, which has helped Optometry punch above its perceived weight class in Washington, D.C., again and again.

The Associate Director of Congressional Relations plays a critical role in advancing the AOA’s federal legislative agenda on Capitol Hill. This position reports to the Chief Federal Advocacy Officer and will collaborate with the Federal Government Relations team, other AOA staff, AOA volunteer leaders, and other partners in alignment with AOA’s federal advocacy goals. Through direct lobbying, grassroots organizing, and political support activities, the Associate Director, Congressional Relations, will strive to influence and educate lawmakers, their staff, and other policymakers. The ideal candidate is highly relational and an effective advocate with a clear understanding of the federal legislative process and outstanding working knowledge of health care policy.

Key Responsibilities
• Advocates to lawmakers and their staff directly on vision and eye health and related issues.
• Develops and fosters relationships with lawmakers, their staff, and other policy makers, including Federal agencies.
• Represents AOA at Capitol Hill meetings and hearings.
• Participates in Federal Relations Committee meetings and conference calls.
• Conducts direct lobbying on Capitol Hill, including preparing comments to Congress and coordination of materials and meetings.
• Attends AOA-PAC events on behalf of the association.
• Triages advocacy questions from members and others and directs them to the appropriate AOA staff.
• Assists with annual D.C. “fly-in” meeting and helps coordinate AOA-PAC and AOA’s grassroots advocacy program.

Our Ideal Candidate
• Bachelor’s Degree or higher; a focus on law or political science preferred
• U.S. Senate experience or Senate focused relationships preferred
• 5+ years in the federal policymaking setting; Capitol Hill and/or in an association setting preferred
• Advanced working knowledge of the federal legislative process; health care policy, in particular, is preferred
• Proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite
• Experience with web-based collaborative sharing tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom
• Established relationships on Capitol Hill and the commitment to fostering new relationships
• Exceptional ability to educate and influence others
• Strong written and verbal communication skills
• Passion for the profession of optometry, AOA’s mission, and health care policy

Travel requirements
• Position holder must be able to spend significant time on Capitol Hill and travel to several out-of-state fundraisers/meetings per year.

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