Policy Associate 

POSITION OVERVIEW

The ACLU of Montana Foundation (“ACLU of Montana”) seeks an organized, detail-oriented person to join our team as a Policy Associate and to use their understanding of political dynamics in Montana and the biennial state legislative session to increase the ACLU of Montana’s impact in the policy realm. The Policy Associate is a member of the Advocacy & Policy department and reports to the Policy Director.

The Policy Associate will track legislators and legislation to assist with the Advocacy and Policy Department’s (APD) programs, utilizing their understanding of the Montana political landscape and political process, including political dynamics, important political issues for community members, state legislators, and legislation. During the interim periods between the biennial legislative sessions, the Policy Associate will continue tracking interim work and legislative committees and work on specific local campaigns deploying their understanding of Montana political dynamics and other policymaking bodies to support other APD staff.

ABOUT THE ACLU OF MONTANA

The ACLU of Montana (founded in 1972) is an affiliate of the national ACLU (founded in 1920) and operates as a private, independent, Montana non-profit organization. We are the state’s largest and most influential civil rights organization, combining litigation, policy advocacy, communications, and organizing tactics to promote a broad range of individual rights and liberties. Our current top priorities are Indigenous Justice, criminal legal reform, reproductive rights, and voting rights. We also work on a range of additional issues including LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, freedom of speech and religion, and informational and digital privacy. The ACLU of Montana envisions a fair, equitable, and free Montana that welcomes and celebrates diversity of all kinds. In our Montana, everybody is treated with dignity and respect and has equal access to rights and freedoms.

The ACLU of Montana has a current staff of 13 and an office located in Missoula. We aspire to a friendly work environment, with flexibility and consideration of personal needs and circumstances. To learn more about the work of the ACLU of Montana, please visit http://aclumontana.org.

COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

ACLU of Montana is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We believe that having a board, staff, and volunteer base with diverse personal and professional backgrounds enhances our ability to meet our mission and creates an environment where all members of our community can thrive.

The ACLU of Montana does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, faith, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, tribal affiliation, disability, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction. We are committed to providing a work environment free from discrimination and harassment and one that honors and promotes a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. We are engaged in ongoing internal racial equity work, with an emphasis in anti-racism and anti-colonialism.

We strongly encourage applications from Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, bi- or multi-lingual (including Indigenous languages) speakers, bicultural individuals, members of the LGBTQ and two-spirit community, those who have been formerly incarcerated or are currently under supervision, and other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups. We seek to build a team that reflects that diversity. All qualified applicants who share our vision and who have a desire to contribute to our mission are encouraged to apply.

We commit to developing and collaborating on thoughtful training programs and onboarding processes with the Policy Associate that identify an individual’s growth areas, in relation to the job description, and empowers their existing knowledge and skills. Moreover, APD commits to long-term, communal learning and growth among all staff, fostering the opportunity to share stories, experience, knowledge, and skills related to our communities, advocacy, organizing, and policy work in Montana.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

The Policy Associate will:

  • Analyze and track Montana’s political landscape by:
    • Developing and maintaining a system for tracking current state legislators, state legislature elections, and portfolios of elected members of Montana’s legislature including, but not limited to: background information, district represented, campaign promises, candidate platforms, bills introduced/passed in previous sessions, and other related information;
    • Assessing and analyzing data on statewide elected officials, voting, political issues, and other related information.
  • Create or utilize policy monitoring tools and lead on tracking bills introduced during Montana’s State Legislative Session by:
    • Assessing and creating or utilizing a system to catalog and track bills introduced during the legislative session and ensuring information is available and accessible to APD and other departments;
    • Monitoring the status of ACLU of Montana’s priority legislation; keeping up-to-date on bill status, committee hearings, and floor schedules through the web-based legislative system.
  • Assist in developing a lobbying response to bills introduced during Montana’s State Legislative Session by:
    • Collaborating with other APD staff members in developing lobbying response plans, floor plans, and other lobbying efforts based on knowledge of Montana politics and legislative process;                                                                                                    
    • Participating in reading and analyzing bills introduced during the Montana state legislative session and researching related bills from past Montana state legislative sessions or bills introduced in other states;
    • Support interim legislative and policy work by tracking and alerting APD staff of interim committees and other related oversight bodies to ensure proper implementation or to mitigate the harm of bills passed during the legislative session.
  • Support local legislative and policy work by collaborating with other APD staff on advocacy and policy campaigns at the local level during non-legislative sessions; research and develop an understanding of local political dynamics, process/structure for tracking local legislation’s progress, and related policy-making process information;
  • Incorporate and demonstrate a commitment to APD’s collective values: “Uplift Indigenous and Black ways of being and knowing,” “Build authentic, purposeful connections and relationships,” “Be a good relative,” and “Commit to personal and collective healing.”;
  • Collaborate with other departments of the ACLU of Montana, as necessary, to support legal work, communications and storytelling, grant proposals and funding opportunities, administrative tasks, and other related work;
  • Ensure all administrative tasks are completed in a timely and accurate manner, including, but not limited to travel and other expense reimbursements, timesheets, and other related financial and personnel documents;
  • Actively engage with the ACLU of Montana team through regular staff meetings, continuing internal racial equity and anti-colonialism work, racial caucusing; professional opportunities, occasional retreats, and periodic committees;
  • Complete other duties that may be assigned within the scope of the above responsibilities.

COMMITMENT TO RACIAL EQUITY

The ACLU of Montana is committed to and engaging in ongoing racial equity work with an emphasis on anti-racism and anti-colonialism. As a staff member, you will be asked to commit, contribute and engage in the following ways:

  • Demonstrate commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging with anti-racist and anti-colonialist understandings of and respect for differences of race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientations, gender identity or expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance and class;
  • Demonstrate commitment to building or deepening understanding of equity, in which racial equity and anti-racism and anti-colonialism are centered;
  • Engage with the issues of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities;
  • Within the scope of the position, understand, explore, and utilize concepts such as structural racism, settler colonialism, anti-Blackness, Indigeneity, restorative justice, whiteness, and other related topics
    • To confront state violence, including but not limited to, public policy, law, policing, and institutional barriers to services, and societal violence experienced by community members;
    • To assess how racism and colonialism are embedded in societal structures and disproportionately impact individuals by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and spirituality, class, incarceration, & other identity markers.
    • To confront how race impacts supervisory relationships, team dynamics, organizational culture and how biases impact our individual and/or team work;
    • To engage in honest, thoughtful conversations about racial equity through a restorative justice approach that accepts feedback openly, non-defensively, emphasizing learning and healing, while balancing accountability.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS

The following experiences are integral to meeting the job responsibilities. Please be sure to identify these in your application and throughout the hiring process. Relevant experience may be through lived, and/or professional or volunteer experiences, or coursework.

  • Knowledge about historical and contemporary politics in Montana including the 1972 Montana Constitution, past and current legislators, and other influential policymakers, political rhetoric, important political issues, and other related topics;
  • Knowledge about the entire Montana state legislative process including how bills are drafted, introduced, assigned to committees, voted on, approved, signed/vetoed, and other aspects of the policymaking process;
  • Solid computer and digital literacy skills, including proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet, communications tools, and following, reading, and synthesizing social media;
  • Ability to work independently and keep organized, manage several projects simultaneously, be in regular contact with coworkers while working outside of the office, and adjust plans when needed;
  • Lived experience, knowledge of, or commitment to learn of Montana’s tribal communities, nations, and policy;
  • Lived experience, knowledge of, or commitment to learn of Montana’s criminal legal system;
  • Experience with and demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging with anti-racist and anti-colonalist understandings of and respect for differences of race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance and class;
  • Demonstrated commitment to building or deepening understanding of equity, in which racial equity and anti-racism and anti-colonialism are centered;
  • Understanding and willingness to engage with the issues of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

The following experiences are particularly valuable - please be sure to address these in your resume or cover letter. We encourage you to apply even if you do not have these qualifications:

  • Experience using policy monitoring tools to track legislation and other related aspects of the policymaking process;
  • Experience in or deep knowledge of electoral politics in Montana; or in other Rocky Mountain states (Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, or New Mexico);
  • Knowledge of national political trends in the United States including federal, tribal, state, and local elections, ballot measures, and issues in agreement with the strategic priorities of the ACLU of Montana (Indigenous Justice, criminal legal reform, voting rights, reproductive rights, and other issues);
  • Ability to research and read legislation, including bills in Montana and other relevant states.

COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS

This position is full-time, exempt, and will pay an annual salary of between $50,000 - $54,999, depending on experience. Excellent benefits offered, including health, vision and dental insurance, $2,500 health stipend to help off-set costs for dependents or any other healthcare costs, short and long-term disability and life insurance, 401(k) retirement plan and employer matching, and generous vacation, holiday, sabbatical, and family and medical leave policies. Relocation reimbursements for actual moving expenses available up to $4,000, contingent on two year’s employment. A monthly reimbursement for personal mobile phone and utilities (including internet) is offered to all ACLU of Montana employees working remotely during the pandemic.

The Policy Associate will be based in Montana. If the finalist is not a Montana resident yet, we will discuss with the finalist a timeline for moving to Montana. The position is currently remote with optional access to the Missoula office, including safety precautions in place for optional and required in-office work. Many of our staff currently work remotely with occasional in-office work during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the office re-opens, if the final candidate is not based in Missoula, the position will require occasional travel to Missoula for approximately 14 days over four trips to attend all-staff and department meetings. During Montana’s biennial legislative sessions (January to May), position will require occasional travel to Helena/Missoula for approximately 14 days (travel expenses paid for by the ACLU of Montana).

APPLICATION PROCEDURE
All applications are treated confidentially. Please submit (in pdf format if possible):

  1. A letter (of no more than one page) describing your interest in the position and the ways in which you satisfy the qualifications specified above. Please indicate in your letter where you learned of this position.
  2. Resume.

Email your application to jobs[at]aclumontana.org or mail it to:

ACLU of Montana, Attn: Hiring
P.O. Box 1968, Missoula, MT 59806

Please put “Policy Associate” in the subject line of your email/envelope.

Applicants with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing to jobs[at]aclumontana.org to request reasonable accommodation at the time of application.

PROCESS

Application review will start May 16, 2022. Applications after that date are encouraged and will be accepted on a rolling basis until the posting is removed from the ACLU of Montana Job Openings page. We are aiming for a start date in August.

Our hiring process is managed by a dedicated hiring committee of four staffers and our HR team. The committee will begin careful review of all applications on May 16, 2022. The steps for finalist selection include a screening call by HR, in-person interview (via videoconferencing) with the hiring committee, an assessment/work sample exercise, a final interview (via videoconferencing), reference calls for the selected finalist, decision and making a job offer to the finalist candidate by end of July. We commit to regular communication with all applicants throughout the process, will apprise candidates of next steps as appropriate, and will promptly communicate any change in timeline above.

To learn more about the work of the ACLU of Montana, please visit www.aclumontana.org.