Imagine you come up with a name for a new issue-advocacy group, one you think will send a powerful message to lawmakers that they need to remain accountable to the people who elected them. Something like, say, "They Work for Us."
Then imagine that whenever you explain where your work, it sets off an Abbott-and-Costello routine of ridiculous proportions.
That's what They Work for Us officials have been dealing with "not quite daily," but fairly often, according to the group's executive director, Lisa Prosienski. (She was not around to dream up the name, since she started her job the day the group formally launched on Jan. 22.)
Prosienski encountered this problem several times at the beginning. "It went around and around," she said, adding that when someone asked where she worked and she replied, "They Work for Us," they would immediately counter, "I know that, but where do you work?"
The group, which is headed by longtime grass-roots organizer Steve Rosenthal, is getting better known in Washington, which makes it easier.
The group, which was initially funded by the Service Employees International Union and other labor unions, aims, according to Prosienski, "to hold members of Congress accountable to the populist vision voters supported in recent elections."
And in contrast to Rosenthal's old group, America Coming Together (ACT), They Work for Us doesn't even have an easy acronym. "A snappy acronym is always a choice thing in Washington, but I don't think it will hurt us in the end. We'll manage," said Prosienski, a veteran of Democratic campaigns in Maine and Arizona. "It gets easier all the time."