Legislative Director, Puerto Rico Chapter of the ACLU [ASD-90]
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
San Juan, Puerto Rico
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.
The ACLU of Puerto Rico operates with a four-member staff, consisting of Executive Director, Legislative Director, Staff Attorney and Administrative Assistant. Our offices are located in the Hato Rey Financial District of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Puerto Rico seeks a sophisticated and experienced Legislative Director to lead its civil liberties and civil rights agenda. The position is primarily responsible for state legislative and executive branch advocacy but also engages with administrative agencies and collaborates with other staff on integrated advocacy initiatives, including court challenges to legislation considered a threat to civil liberties. The Legislative Director works under the supervision of the Executive Director and in close collaboration with other staff, including the Legal Director, associates and volunteers.
Never before has Puerto Rico faced the wrenching challenges to its democratic freedom and civil liberties that it is now facing. Recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions clearly limit Puerto Rico’s political power, and affirm that its political power lays in Congress. Meanwhile, Congress has delegated to a Fiscal Control Board powers that generally lay in an elected government, and we are facing a Board-controlled bankruptcy proceeding under the PROMESA law. These bankruptcy proceedings have left Puerto Rico with no immediate judicial recourse for civil liberties violations, leading to stays on all court challenges against the government. Puerto Rico is now the only jurisdiction with no immediate access to courts on claims of civil and constitutional rights violations by government.
These limitations are further exacerbated by a post-hurricane Maria state of emergency that continues to this day, causing a mass human exodus that has divided families and led to additional civil liberties challenges. The ACLU of Puerto Rico is committed to taking on these challenges head on and working on containing further civil liberties violations, and to guarantee that the fundamental rights of the people are secure. The Legislative Director will be an important component in our concerted effort to fully restore the rights of the people of Puerto Rico.
- Oversee the ACLU of Puerto Rico’s legislation and policy program, including developing priority issue campaigns consistent with organizational priorities.
- Develop and implement the ACLU of Puerto Rico’s legislative agenda utilizing appropriate strategies and tactics; lobby members of the legislature, their staff and the Governor’s office, analyze and track legislation, draft amendments and prepare and deliver both written and oral testimony.
- Build trusted relationships with lawmakers, agency decision-makers, staff, the Governor’s office, lobbyists and other stakeholders by providing clear, fact-based analysis and resources; identify opportunities for bipartisan support on ACLU issues.
- Develop strategies and work 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 organizing strategies.
- Participate in legislative interim activity, attend legislative hearings and participate in policy-related workgroups, coalitions and meetings.
- Respond to media requests on policy issues and represent the ACLU of Puerto Rico at events, forums and meetings.
- Prepare written materials in collaboration with staff, including action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, reports, op-eds and website updates.
- Work collaboratively with the ACLU national and Washington Legislative Office (WLO), and other ACLU affiliates, to advance nationwide policy campaigns.
- When necessary, join legal staff in court challenges against legislation deemed a threat to our civil liberties agenda.
- Attend national and regional ACLU training and staff conferences.
- Attend ACLU functions and handle other projects, as assigned.
- Supervise volunteer legislative staff and interns.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
- J.D. required; undergraduate or graduate degrees in policy-related areas desirable.
- Preferably licensed to practice law in Puerto Rico and be admitted to the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico or be willing to sit for the Federal Bar Exam in Puerto Rico.
- Fully bilingual (Spanish/English)
- Candidates should have three years of proven local, state or national level legislative, political or policy advocacy work experience, or equivalent; preferably with experience in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
- Must own a vehicle and be willing to travel both within and outside Puerto Rico; and when required, to attend ACLU national conferences and trainings.
- Understanding of the legislative process, 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 advocacy skills, both written and oral
- Strong 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 utilizing a broad range of political and lobbying tactics.
- Ability to work independently when necessary and keep organized in a fast-paced environment, manage several projects simultaneously and adjust strategy to frequently changing demands.
- Understanding of how to work collaboratively with colleagues across departments and functions; experience in integrated advocacy strongly preferred.
- Commitment to the highest ethical standards of lobbying and professionalism.
- Ability to work long hours during legislative session and commute to meetings and events throughout Puerto Rico, as needed.
The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.
HOW TO APPLY
To apply, email a letter of application, resume and three professional references (identifying their relationship to you and including their email and telephone number) to HRjobsPR@aclu.org. Reference [ASD-90] in subject line.
Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU 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.
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The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”