The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU of Texas) is a non-profit, public interest organization devoted to protecting civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU advances its goals through legal and legislative advocacy, media and public awareness efforts, information and training, membership mobilization, and coalition work. Its staff of nearly 70 employees and more than 10,000 volunteers work in a fast-paced, friendly, and professional environment. Established in 1938, the ACLU of Texas is based in Houston but with offices in Austin, Brownsville, Dallas and El Paso. It is among the 10 largest affiliates of the nationwide ACLU.
The Policy Director of the ACLU of Texas is a member of the leadership team and provides vision and direction for its policy program. This position is primarily responsible for driving the ACLU of Texas’ policy agenda at state and local levels, including the legislature, city councils, county commissions and school boards, and working collaboratively cross departmentally using our integrated advocacy model. The successful candidate will work in concert with the Communications, Advocacy, and Legal departments and support and inspire ACLU members, donors and volunteers and build bi-partisan alliances with other stakeholders.
Leading a team of six professionals, the Policy Director works under the supervision of the Executive Director and in close collaboration with other staff, including the Advocacy, Legal, Communications, Development and Deputy Directors.
- Oversee the ACLU of Texas’ policy program, including coordinating with other programmatic departments to conduct issue campaigns consistent with organizational priorities.
- Integrate community engagement with long-term, sustainable policy change strategies across multiple cities that are consistent with ACLU of Texas strategic priorities.
- Supervise a staff of professionals as a strong mentor who sets high standards and demands accountability.
- Build trusted relationships with lawmakers, agency decision-makers and staff at every level of government by providing clear, fact-based analysis and resources; identify opportunities for bipartisan support on ACLU issues.
- Develop strategies and work statewide in partnership with allied organizations, individuals and diverse coalitions.
- Coordinate and collaborate with staff to plan and implement effective multi-disciplinary and integrated advocacy policy initiatives, involving a combination of policy, legal, communication, public education and field strategies.
- Support overall organizational goals, which includes close collaboration with the Development department by participating in donor meetings, donor events or other aspects of the fundraising process.
- Develop and implement the ACLU of Texas’ legislative agenda utilizing appropriate strategies and tactics; identify consultants as necessary; lobby members of the legislature, their staffs and the Governor’s office, analyze and track legislation, draft amendments and prepare and deliver both written and oral testimony.
- In coordination with the Communications Department, respond to media requests on policy issues and represent the ACLU of Texas at events, forums and meetings.
- Ensure contributions to content for materials developed by the Communications Department including action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, reports, op-eds and website updates.
- Work collaboratively with the national ACLU and other ACLU affiliates to advance nationwide policy campaigns.
- Help maintain a positive, respectful, welcoming, and professional work environment and a strong team spirit within the office.
- Attend national and regional ACLU training and staff conferences.
- Attend various ACLU functions and handle other projects, as assigned.
- BA required, graduate education in law, public affairs or related discipline strongly preferred; and at least 10 years of local, state, and/or national-level legislative, legal or policy advocacy work, preferably in Texas.
- Understanding of the state and municipal lawmaking processes, political strategic planning and the ability to build respectful relationships across the political spectrum.
- Substantial knowledge of civil liberties and civil rights issues and a commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission and goals.
- Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, research and analytical skills and the ability to articulate legal concepts and complex issues tactfully and effectively to a variety of audiences.
- Ability to develop allies and work collaboratively in coalitions; ability to navigate internal political dynamics among partner groups.
- Demonstrated ability to build and sustain relationships with diverse groups, work cooperatively with communities across the political spectrum and a personal approach that values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstances.
- Initiative, vision and ability to develop and implement short and long-term policy strategies.
- An entrepreneurial approach to the position, working independently when necessary and keeping organized in a fast-paced environment, while managing several projects simultaneously and adjusting strategy to frequently changing demands.
- Understanding of how to work collaboratively with colleagues across departments and functions; experience in integrated advocacy strongly preferred.
- Help maintain a positive, respectful, welcoming, and professional work environment and a strong team spirit within the office with an optimistic attitude and sense of humor.
- Demonstrated commitment to the work.
- Ability to speak conversational Spanish a plus.
- Ability to be based in Houston and able to travel – possibly 30 percent of the time.
Compensation and Benefits
Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of ACLU of Texas’s salary scale. Excellent benefits include a generous Paid Time Off policy, medical, dental and vision insurance; 401(k) plan with an employer match; life and long-term disability insurance, and generous paid holidays.
To apply, email a letter of application, resume and an autobiographical essay no longer than two pages. The essay should cover something that is not apparent from a resume.
Attn: Policy Director
The ACLU of Texas is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Texas encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.