and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Who is Judy Meredith?
Rabid Tax-and-Spend Advocate

Judith C. Meredith

The Public Policy Institute

Former Executive Director:

Judy Meredith is the founder and executive director of the Public Policy Institute. A veteran lobbyist, Judy has worked for more than thirty years creating change through legislative advocacy.

Judy's lobbying experience in Massachusetts began in 1969 when she became a volunteer lobbyist for her adoptive and foster parent group. After ten years of working as an advocate inside and outside of state government, she founded Meredith and Hall, a political consulting firm known for its work with nonprofits.

Over the years, Judy's lobbying work evolved into a coaching model in which she guides clients through the process of developing their own internal capacity for advocacy by mentoring staff, building leadership skills of volunteers, and helping to broker constructive and positive working partnerships with policy makers.

Judy has served as a national consultant to the Service Employees International Union, the AFL-CIO, and the Public Affairs Division of the United Way of America. She is currently coaching community activists nationwide for The Access Project and the Community Health Leaders Program.

With her husband Peter Rider she shares the occasional company of 5 patient grown children, 3 good-natured children in law, and eleven perfect-in-every-way grandchildren.

About the Public Policy Institute

The Public Policy Institute's mission is to help nonprofit organizations working for social and economic justice interpret the current political scene, successfully promote positive policy change, and build their organizational power - all at the same time.

The goal of every PPI program and activity is empower boards, staff and volunteers to influence the public policy making process through advanced policy analysis and skill-building sessions focused on messaging, campaign planning, organizing grassroots constituencies, building nontraditional coalitions and using earned and paid media strategies.

The PPI programs and activities are all built around this simple principle of Real Clout: learn how to combine the standard smart savvy tactics of informed insiders with a district based network of trained and informed affected constituents, and you can win.

Participants in PPI programs learn the basic "rules and tools" needed to figure out how public policy is made in state, county and local governments and how to shape it in partnership with key stakeholders in any public policy arena. They will learn how to promote their "great idea" as a solution to a pressing public problem, assess and mobilize internal and external resources, identify and assess potential policy opportunities, identify and recruit potential policy partners, design and implement community education efforts with affected constituents and promote a specific positive policy change in ways that are consistent IRS restrictions of lobbying. They learn about the role of short term compromises and coalitions; how the personalities, ego and un-informed opinion of all the players, (including themselves), affect public policy decisions; what public policy makers in the administrative and legislative branches respond to (and don't respond to) and they will learn how to appreciate the critical importance of involving affected constituents in community based public education efforts.

Organizing a comprehensive campaign, involving members and volunteers, and monitoring the changing climate of the State House can be frustrating and challenging.

The Public Policy Institute offers experience, perspective, and support to nonprofit organizations, professionals, and coalitions... so while they may wonder what they're doing in a place like this, they never wonder what they're doing.

Hear her speak

The Boston Foundation

From:  Speaker Biographies:

Judith C. Meredith
Founder and Executive Director
Public Policy Institute

Judy Meredith brings over thirty years of experience creating change through legislative advocacy. Her lobbying experience in Massachusetts began in 1969 as a volunteer lobbyist. After ten years of working as an advocate inside and outside of state government, she founded Meredith and Associates in 1980, a political consulting firm known for its work with nonprofits, state legislative advocacy and government relations for low income people through a group of public and private sector clients including legal services and a range of health and human service consumer advocacy and trade associations. Over the years, Judy's lobbying work evolved into a coaching model taught thorough the recently established Public Policy Institute to help clients build their internal public policy capacity.

Judy extensive public policy experience includes: Policy advisor and lobbyist for children's issues for Governor Frank Sargent in the early 70s. Assistant Director Office for Children responsible for building and institutionalizing local Councils for Children, 1972-74. Policy advisor, Attorney General Frank Bellotti, issues included enforcement of school reform and deinstitutionalization of MR facilities 1974-77. Public Policy Director, Massachusetts Fair Share--developed district based membership lobbying campaigns around utility rate reform and tax reform issues 1977-79. National Political Director ACORN, focus on empowering low and moderate income ACORN members through national Presidential politics by winning delegate seats and offering platform planks at Convention 1979-80. From January 1992 to March 1995, she served as National Director for a Coalition of Community Foundations for Children and Youth, a national network of local partnerships between United Ways, Community Foundations and children's advocacy organizations. She has served as a national consultant to the Service Employees International Union, the AFL-CIO, and the Public Affairs Division of the United Way of America.

Judy is the author of "Lobbying on a Shoestring," now in third edition, a widely used handbook that shares an insiders view of state advocacy in Massachusetts, and the co-author with Catherine Dunham of "Real Clout," a handbook for community health activists interested in increasing health access through the public policy process.

Judy Meredith's 2008 Manifesto for Higher Taxes

Bluemassgroup Blog

Lessons Learned from Question 1..............
by: Judy Meredith
Sun Nov 16, 2008 at 09:38:12 AM EST

What Did We Vote For?

One week ago, voters across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly to preserve our schools and youth programs. They voted to safeguard our emergency and safety structures. They voted to protect our elderly parents and our sick neighbors.

Our neighbors voted against Question 1 - the repeal of our state income tax - in the face of a national economic downturn, while our country and state faced job losses, and amid a presidential campaign that witnessed both parties promising tax cuts to the middle class.

They voted 'no' because voters understand the direct connection between the health of our communities and the revenues that we use to support their public structures.

We all saw community activists working in a network across the state, having conversations with voters in neighborhood action groups, chambers of commerce, public and private employee unions, local town hall meetings, and nonprofit membership meetings.

We began to learn what messages worked and what messages didn't work in different communities.

The ONE Massachusetts Network is about to begin a statewide debriefing project to learn more from our communities and organizational members:

Which public structures do you rely and place value on, and where do those structures need improvement?

What sort of changes need to be made to restore your faith that an increase in taxes would be spent wisely and collected fairly?

ONE Massachusetts' job is not to craft the content of a tax reform package, but to help our network of statewide and community-based organizations to develop a membership education program around tax and budget policy, and to empower them to participate in the upcoming public debate by declaring that their communities understand the need for additional revenues - as long as they are fairly collected and effectively used.

NEXT STEPS   Join us on November 19th to discuss what messages worked across our state.

We are inviting public officials from the Patrick administration and the Legislature to listen to the ideas community organizers heard at the doors, on the phone banks, through listserves, and in member meetings, as well as an analysis of the polls and focus groups performed in preparation for Question One.

Add your voice in our mission to advocate for a fair, adequate and stable revenue structure and budget for our Commonwealth.

And yes, we know that we will likely find ourselves competing with each other as we advocate that our programs are the most "sympathetic and compelling," but at least we are working together to build a foundation of good information and smart strategies!

The tuition for the session is $20 and includes a light supper and take-home materials.

Besides the Budget Punch lists, we will have a freshly-printed second edition of the Real Clout Book and Real Clout Workbook available at cost.

Please contact Carmen Arce-Bowen at (617) 275-2833 or carmen [at] to RSVP for this event, or with any questions! Seating is limited - RSVP ASAP!


Polling and Focus Group Organizers Coalition for Our Communities - Jo Blum, Harris Gruman ONE Massachusetts, Education Voters - Yawu Miller, Michael Fogelberg

Community Organizers Coalition for Social Justice - Deb Fastino Mass Affordable Housing Alliance - Cortina Vann Massachusetts ACORN - Mimi Ramos Massachusetts Senior Action Council - Carolyn Viller, Community Members Chelsea Collaborative - Gladys Vega, Carmen Arce-Bowen

Networks and Membership Organizations Massachusetts Nonprofit Network - David Magnani Mass Advocates for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities - Dan Hunter

Public Officials Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance - Ronald Marlow Massachusetts House of Representatives - Denise Provost, Byron Rushing Massachusetts Senate - Laura Booth, Office of Senator Anthony Gallucio, others unconfimed.