Director of Government Relations

Based in Tualatin, OR

Position Title: Director of Government Relations
Department: Administration
Supervisor’s Title: Chief Executive Officer
Exempt Status: Exempt

Job Summary
The Director of Government Relations has two primary lines of responsibility and two critical complimentary functions. The primary lines of responsibility are engaging members in campaign activities and policy advocacy activities. The critical complimentary functions are to convene member policy development and to direct and approve strategic communications that relate to campaigns, advocacy and policy issues. The role of the Director of Government Relations is to organize and focus ONA members so their collective political power advances nursing practice, patient care and the rights of nurses as workers.

Accomplishing the work of ONA will require the Director of Government Relations to be combine skills to be a good listener and persuasive; charming and humble; a leader, coalition partner and able to follow ONA’s member-leadership; strategic and process-oriented; authentic and calculating; comfortable wielding power and open to compromise. The Director will also need to be an expert in the field of politics. The ability to successfully employ this wide range of skills and traits will allow the Director of Government Relations to be trusted as the face of nursing in political circles.

The ONA Government Relations Director will need to be capable of promoting member-led efforts and creating member engagement activities as the primary approach to political work. The position requires a fundamental knowledge of political campaigns activities including: polling, voter files, campaign finance laws, messaging (message discipline) and grassroots organizing. The ONA Director of Government Relations will need to know how to work with a wide range of coalitions including labor unions, health care stakeholders, political parties and associated groups, national-affiliate alliances, progressive interest groups and grassroots citizen groups. The position will require enough experience working in the Oregon state legislature and with state agencies that an individual knows the processes, culture, nomenclature and key staff of each.

The ONA culture ought to promote member-led policy initiatives where ONA staff serves as researchers, thought partners and conveners of communities of practice. The Director of Government Relations needs to be skilled at supporting this work both within the membership and between the membership and external interests including state agencies, coalition partners and other health care stakeholders.

Essential Functions

  • Executive leadership with an emphasis on team decision making.
  • Mission alignment with the Code of Nursing, ONA members and union philosophy.
  • Approach to problem solving that exhibits an array of skills including: strategy, process integrity, research, negotiation, coalition-building, persuasion, listening and comfort wielding power.

Campaign Support

  • Ability to engage members in campaign work including public speaking, media work, canvassing, phone banking, press interviews, candidate interviews and participation in affiliate/coalition work.
  • Knowledge of polling.
  • Knowledge of voter files.
  • Knowledge of campaign finance laws.
  • Knowledge of messaging and the importance of message discipline.
  • Knowledge of grassroots organizing.
  • Ability to oversee ONA staff who are tasked to participate in campaign work.
  • Ability to train ONA members and staff in campaign activities.
  • Ability to recruit, train and support member-leaders to advance in political roles both internal to ONA and external including appointments, coalition leadership and as candidates for elected office.
  • Ability to manage a budget that contributes to legislative candidates and ballot measures.
  • Ability to advice, but not direct, ONA members in the strategic use of campaign funds.

Lobbying and Advocacy

  • Ability to work with a wide range of coalitions wide range of coalitions including labor unions, health care stakeholders, political parties and associated groups, national-affiliate alliances, progressive interest groups and grassroots citizen groups.
  • Expertise in the legislative process including the drafting of legislation, amendments, committee hearing processes, timelines, staff summaries, legislative fiscals, the ways and means process and floor procedures.
  • Expertise in state agencies and regulations including the appointment process, rulemaking processes, administrative rules, public meetings laws and appropriations.
  • Networking (current and developed over time) that includes Oregon state and federal elected officials, key state agencies personnel, key legislative staff (state and federal) and relevant lobbyists, reporters and political consultants.
  • Ability to develop legislative strategy.
  • Ability to effectively communicate ONA policy priorities.

Additional Functions

Executive Management and Program Development

  • Ability to manage a department budget.
  • Ability to manage personnel.
  • Ability to create a team, direct work, coach, set expectations and inspire hard work and loyalty.
  • Ability to create a program and constantly adapt strategy to changes in the political landscape.
  • Ability to work with an executive team including creating enthusiasm for shared work across the organization.
  • Ability and willingness to support other departments when organizational priorities focus on work that is outside of government relations.

Lead on ONA Policy Development (Member Engagement)

  • Oversee the development of public policy that is anchored in the work, values and expertise of ONA members.
  • Engage experts for ONA staff, members, public officials, researchers, coalition partners and other stakeholders to inform the ONA policy development process.
  • Monitor legislative, agency and stakeholder coalition work that impacts or informs ONA policy making.
  • Develop norms for successful member-led meetings and decision making.
  • Develop programs for member leadership development.

Lead on ONA Strategic Political Communications

  • Direct ONA political communications strategy and message development
  • Oversee programs to prepare members as public spokespersons
  • Initiate rapid response communications in all traditional, digital and social media channels
  • Oversee internal communications to ONA staff on campaign, advocacy and policy issues
  • Oversee drafting of legislative testimony (written and oral)


  • Bachelor’s Degree in a field related to politics, policy development, and communications.
  • At least 5 years’ experience in government relations work.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills to transmit messages and infor¬ma-tion.
  • Supervisory skills and experience.
  • Strong organizational skill to prioritize time and complete tasks and projects within defined time frame.
  • Ability to work independently without close supervision.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Discretion in handling confidential information.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to deal tactfully with inside and outside contacts under pressure due to time constraints.

Travel Requirements
Frequent travel is required.

To Apply
Email: careers@oregonrn.org

WHEN APPLYING: Be sure to indicate that you saw this information at UNIONJOBS.COM.