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Resolution-writing tactics that get the job done right

By Nicole Palya-Wood - New Grange, September/October 2011

  OCTOBER 16, 2011 --

The Grange has a long history steeped in member participation in our policy development through our resolution process. 

Each Granger is tasked with addressing voids and surplus in our policy and can propose to implement these changes by offering amendments to your State Grange. 

Drafting resolutions may seem like a daunting task at first, but if you follow three simple steps listed below, you will soon be on your way to writing a clear and effective resolution.

First, it is important to know the anatomy of a resolution. There are three main parts: the Title, the body or Whereas section, and the conclusion or Resolved section. 

The title should clearly state the issue to be addressed. For example, if you are drafting a measure to deregulate the postal service, your title should be something along the lines of “Deregulation of the Postal Service” rather than just “Postal Service.”

The Whereas section is where you get to make your argument for why this resolution is necessary. 

This section does not become policy, but explains to other Grangers why the issue is important and provides details, data, and other reference material so they can be better educated on voting for the issue. An example is: 

“Whereas, the Federal Government imposes egregious regulations and mandates on the U.S. Postal Service but no longer funds any of the organization’s operating costs; and

“Whereas, the U.S. Postal Service will continue to be forced to close local post offices and reduce services under such a business model; and

“Whereas, the U.S. Postal Service could survive and compete if allowed to create its own business model free of Congressional overregulation; and

“Whereas, the National Grange has a rich tradition in helping to ensure the rural free delivery of mail; be it”

The Resolved section must be a complete sentence which sums up what your resolution is trying to achieve and can stand alone without any of the supporting information. 

Example: “Resolved, that the National Grange support legislation that creates an autonomous U.S. Postal Service which can set its own operating procedures and business model without the undue regulation of the Federal Government.” 

Writing Resolutions that Stand the Test of Time

In closing, make sure your resolution can stand the test of time. 

A good deal of Grange policy dates back 75 years or more and continues to be relevant because the ideals and concepts hold true today. 

However, we also have policy that is out-of-date and relates to issues that have been dealt with on the local and congressional levels. 

If you have a resolution that deals with an issue that is connected to a current event or particular bill, your resolution may be included in the committee of jurisdiction’s policy statement for that year, rather than passed as a resolution. 

Rest assured that this is still very important and is actually a better home for your resolution. 

Good luck and happy policymaking!

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