The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) seeks a creative and dynamic team player with policy advocacy experience to become ACLU-TN’s policy director. ACLU-TN is building a more expansive advocacy infrastructure and the policy director will be responsible for leading the organization’s policy advocacy work to advance ACLU-TN’s strategic priorities. The policy director’s primary role will be focused on state legislative and executive branch advocacy, as well as engaging with administrative agencies, local governments, and other campaigns.
The policy director is a member of the ACLU-TN’s senior leadership team and will report to the deputy director. The policy director also will collaborate closely with the legal director, communications director, and community engagement director.
ACLU-TN, the state affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, is a private, non-profit, non- partisan public interest organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through advocacy, coalition-building, litigation, legislative lobbying, community mobilization, and public education.
ACLU has been a leader in moving freedom forward in Tennessee for over 9 decades. In 1925, when John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution in a Dayton, TN public school classroom, ACLU cooperating attorney Clarence Darrow defended him. In the era of segregation, ACLU spoke out for racial justice and the right to assemble, including representing Dr. Martin Luther King during the sanitation workers strike in Memphis. In recent years, we have successfully pursued cutting edge initiatives on a range of issues including religious freedom, LGBTQ equality, freedom of speech, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, government surveillance, and reproductive freedom.
In the wake of daily assaults on civil liberties and civil rights, ACLU-TN is embarking on its most ambitious advocacy yet. ACLU-TN’s policy work includes, but is not limited to, criminal justice reform; voting rights; advancing racial justice and LGBTQ equality; free speech; reproductive justice; and more.
The ACLU-TN state office is located in Nashville, a rapidly growing city with a rich history in social justice and a fantastic music, arts, culture and food scene. In addition, the ACLU-TN is an exciting, fast-paced place to work.
- Design and implement a strategic legislative and policy program at the state and local levels to advance ACLU-TN’s civil liberties and civil rights priorities;
- Work closely with contract lobbyists to execute ACLU-TN’s legislative agenda utilizing appropriate strategies and tactics, including lobbying members of the Tennessee General Assembly, their staff and the governor’s office;
- Analyze and track legislation, draft legislation and amendments, and prepare and deliver written and oral testimony;
- Prepare written materials in collaboration with the communications director, including action alerts, talking points, issues briefs, policy reports, op eds, and website content;
- Build trusted relationships with elected and appointed officials, agency decision-makers, the governor’s office, lobbyists and community stakeholders by providing clear, fact-based analysis and resources;
- Represent ACLU-TN in various community and stakeholder policy groups, build and lead coalitions with diverse stakeholders to advance shared policy goals, and work in partnership with other organizations;
- Consult with policy subject matter experts, including directly impacted people, and facilitate their voices being heard by decisionmakers at the state and local level;
- Coordinate and collaborate with ACLU-TN staff to build and implement effective multi- disciplinary and integrated advocacy initiatives, involving a combination of policy, legal, communications, public education and community engagement strategies;
- Work collaboratively with the national ACLU and other ACLU affiliates to advance nationwide policy campaigns;
- Speak to the media or the public as needed;
- Assist in educating the public about legislation and the legislative process;
- Perform other related duties as assigned by the deputy director.
- BA required. Graduate degree and/or law degree preferred and three years of state or national legislative, political or policy advocacy work;
- Understanding of the legislative process, political strategic planning, and the ability to build respectful relationships across the political spectrum;
- Exceptional analytical, research, writing and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to articulate complex issues and to communicate them tactfully and effectively to a variety of audiences;
- Demonstrated ability to build and sustain allies and work collaboratively across the political spectrum with diverse coalitions, including navigating internal political dynamics among partner groups, and a personal approach that values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socioeconomic circumstances;
- Exceptional initiative, vision and ambition to build a strategic, integrated advocacy program through a broad range of short- and long-term political and lobbying tactics;
- Passion for, and a well-articulated knowledge of, civil liberties, civil rights and racial justice, and a familiarity with the work and mission of the ACLU;
- Ability to listen, guide and support people to achieve common goals;
- Keen attention to detail; ability to work simultaneously on multiple projects at various stages of completion; good problem-solving skills; and a positive, professional attitude with sound judgment, flexibility, determination, and good humor in a fast-paced, sometimes high-pressure office;
- Ambitious, creative, and results-oriented initiative and a desire to learn, pitch-in, and anticipate new projects; ability to collaborate, including working closely with the executive director, deputy director and colleagues at ACLU-TN and the national ACLU;
- An absolute commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards; and
- Willingness to work beyond 9 to 5, especially during the legislative session, and to travel throughout Tennessee as needed.
Compensation: Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU-TN compensation scale. Excellent benefits offered, including a wellness stipend, health insurance plan, dental, life and long-term disability insurance; 401(k) with an employee match; and sick, vacation and holiday leave.
Application Procedure and Deadline: Applications will be reviewed beginning Monday, November 28 and will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the posting will be removed from the ACLU- TN/ACLU websites. Please email a single PDF titled “Policy Director Application – Your Name” that includes your letter of interest, resume, professional writing sample no longer than five pages and three professional references to firstname.lastname@example.org with the email subject line “Policy Director Application – Your Name.” Please state in your letter of interest how you learned of this position.
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