Advocating for Architecture

by Adrienne Montare, AIASC Executive Director

Adrienne Montare, AIA

AIASC Executive Director

The Board of Directors expanded the role of the Executive Director, Adrienne Montare, AIA, to serve as the Chapter’s registered lobbyist.

AIASC is the only organization representing the interests of architects in South Carolina. As the sole voice of the architectural profession in the state, with over 900 members, AIASC can have significant influence over state-level policymaking. We meet a daily challenge of regulatory issues such as licensure, professional liability, public safety, code adoption and taxation that can result in legislation that negatively impacts our livelihood.

As part of the chapter’s recent strategic planning process, the Government Affairs & Practice Committee was re-named the Advocacy Committee. The chapter has also engaged a full time contract lobbyist, Riley Pope & Laney, for the first time in several years. Ted Riley and Hobart Trotter will be representing us at the Statehouse, and before the various state offices and agencies with which we interact on our practice and policy issues.

The AIASC Advocacy Team serves us in the following ways:

  • Reviews & tracks bills as they’re introduced in the SC House and Senate
  • Attends committee and subcommittee meetings of the SC Legislature
  • Monitors court actions and the opinions of the State Attorney General
  • Drafts Issue Briefs on AIASC positions
  • Testifies before legislative and regulatory bodies regarding AIASC’s positions
  • Coordinates AIASC member testimony before legislative and regulatory bodies
  • Coordinates advocacy efforts with allied professional groups (AGC, ACEC, SPE, etc.)
  • Holds a Candidates Forum and/or meets with candidates individually prior to statewide elections
  • Attends meetings at the Office of the State Engineer and the Office of School Facilities
  • Reviews South Carolina Business Opportunities
  • Coordinates with SCArchiPAC

But the Advocacy Team can’t do it alone. While we can inform legislators on key issues, as elected officials, legislators are primarily beholden to constituents’ interests.  As a constituent, therefore, you play a vital role in expressing what these interests are. Meeting with your Representative or Senator at home in your district can have a significant impact on your legislator’s vote when a bill hits his or her committee or the floor of the General Assembly.

Each of the six Sections has created a local Advocacy Committee to reach out to legislators when they’re in their home district. Through this coordinated effort, you can give a personal voice to the way legislative issues affect you – giving your legislators feedback on what you, as a voter, care about.

Since the South Carolina Legislature creates laws that affect how we practice, and that can negatively impact the profession, it is vitally important that we maintain constant contact and stay engaged in the legislative process. As a member you can help ensure we are successful by doing the following:

  • Join the Chapter’s or your local Section’s Advocacy Committee
  • Keep your Vocus profile on the AIA website up-to-date (AIA Advocacy)
  • Get to know your legislators (SC Legislator Search)
  • Attend candidate meet and greet in your district
  • Volunteer to participate in a political campaign
  • Invest in SCArchiPAC
  • Contact AIASC staff or your section’s Advocacy Committee with any legislative or regulatory concerns

Strategy & Initiatives:

AIA South Carolina will facilitate effective dialogue among members; and between AIA members- collectively and individually- and the public to promote a better built environment, expanded influence of the architect in society, and a healthy future for the profession.

SC Architecture magazine has great potential for outreach beyond the membership. AIASC is seeking initiatives to expand the circulation. To view the online version, click here.

AIA’s current website has been expanded and redesigned, with a focus on a navigation and simplicity.  It should serve as a portal to other websites, with links to our Sections, the National website and our members’ websites.  This is a tool to promote our values and facilitate effective dialogue among members. Please contact us with any ideas for additions.

We are currently seeking initiatives to raise awareness on the issue of Diversity in AIASC.

AIASC supports the efforts to seek proactive relationships with contractors, engineers, landscape architects, and other allied professionals through their respective organizations, lobbying groups, and in joint projects and committees.

Seeking ideas to expand the avenues to promote our values, including issues such as sustainability, smart growth, and more. Contact us for more information or to submit your ideas.

AIASC supports the efforts of our lobbyist and director to strengthen our relationship with the Legislation.

AIASC continues to strengthen our dialogue with SC Architectural Board in development of professional conduct and registration law clarifications.

AIA Advocacy


The AIA is working for you at all levels of government, creating a better landscape for architects to do business.  AIA’s architect members and our national advocacy staff have had tremendous success in advocating our positions to our elected leaders.

AIA National Advocacy Center
AIA National’s Advocacy Center is a key resource for finding out about key issues, exploring the organization’s advocacy agenda, and finding ways that you can make a difference.

Advocacy365 connects AIA members with the resources and information they need to build relationships with their legislators at the local, state, and federal level.  Make your voice heard year round and get involved.

ArchiPAC is the bipartisan political action committee of the American Institute of Architects. Founded in 1980, ArchiPAC serves as the single voice for the architecture profession on the national political scene. Funded by AIA members’ voluntary contributions, ArchiPAC is the tool that architects use to voice the AIA’s positions to our nationally elected leaders on issues affecting the built environment, our profession, our communities, and our practices.  Contribute

AIA Citizen Architect Resource Center
AIA Citizen Architects advocate for the broader purposes of architecture through civic participation, writing and publishing, by gaining appointment to boards and commissions, and through elective office at all levels of government.  Citizen Architect Resolution

Every Time We Talk About Architecture…

Advocating for our profession happens every time we talk about architecture, by informing the public – whether it’s our clients, our neighbors or a legislator – about what we do. It’s also at the core of AIA South Carolina’s mission and one of the three pillars of our strategic plan (link here to 2009 strategic plan) which prioritizes advocating for architects and architecture in South Carolina through legislative action and community engagement at the state and local level.

We were founded over 100 years ago for this very purpose: to promote South Carolina’s architects and their practices, and to ensure an excellent architectural education for the next generation.  Together, AIA South Carolina and its six local sections strive to accomplish this goal by

  • Facilitating effective dialog between our members and the public
  • Advocating for better community design
  • Expanding the influence of architects in the community
  • Serving as a voice on community, legislative and design matters
  • Promoting AIA members and the value of their services to the public

AIA South Carolina members work collaboratively with local and AIA National components to strengthen the voices of architects in government and community leadership at the city, state and national level. To promote the unique value of architects and the importance of design excellence throughout South Carolina, AIASC celebrates our members’ work through our annual Design Awards Program and honorary distinctions (link to Awards pages).

Architects need to get involved in the political process for three reasons:

Architects impact the lives of everyone in the communities they serve.  The architectural profession employs more than 275,000 Americans and is part of the design and construction industry which accounts for 8-10% of the U.S. economy.  Together, we can send a clear message on a wide range of issues from community planning to housing, sustainability, building codes, project delivery, historic preservation and a wealth of other issues.

It’s easy to take for granted what we’ve already earned – architectural practice acts, qualifications-based selection for design services, tax provisions for historic preservation and development of abandoned buildings, to name a few – but all of this can be quickly undone if our elected leaders are not continually made aware of why this is so important to the public we serve.

Only together can we positively impact the business and practice of our profession. Please read the Seven Easy Steps to Make Your Voice Heard and choose to join in to make a difference.

Three Reasons Why

Architects need to get involved in the political process

Architects impact the lives of everyone in the communities they serve. The architectural profession employees more than 275,000 Americans and it is part of the design/construction industry, which represents 8 percent to 10 percent of the U.S. economy. Architects need a strong voice on a wide range of issues from community planning, housing, sustainability, building codes, project delivery, historic preservation, and a wealth of other issues.

It is easy to take for granted what has already been earned – architectural practice acts, qualifications based selection for design services, tax provisions for historic preservation and development of abandoned buildings, to name a few – but all of this work can be undone by a legislator who is unaware of the purpose of these important victories of the past.

Architects have a unified voice on the business and design issues important to all of us.   Members can identify ways to participate in that unified voice for the architectural profession. Read the Seven Easy Steps to Make Your Voice Heard.

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