This year, elections for all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 36 U.S. Senate seats, 36 governorships, and numerous state legislative and local government offices will take place Nov. 4. While turning up to vote in the upcoming elections is critical, there are things you can do now to directly advocate for the needs of your business and employees.
Remember that legislators respond best to the people they represent—and they depend on business owners to tell them how proposed legislation or regulations will affect their industry, their district, or their company and employees. Here are some things you, as a business owner, can do this year to make an impact.
Make sure you understand who your legislators are and how they are likely to react to key issues that affect you.
Talk to your employees
- Download the ABC Action app (Apple or Android) and respond to action alerts, learn about elected official’s voting records and get detailed briefs on important ABC issues.
- Become active on your local ABC chapters’ legislative committee.
- Visit the Politics and Policy section of abc.org to stay up to date on ABC’s legislative agenda.
- Attend ABC’s Legislative Conference and meet your members of Congress in their Capitol Hill offices.
- Contact ABC’s Director of Grassroots Chris Carroll for ideas and help implementing a grassroots advocacy program at your company ([email protected]).
Take the time to communicate how certain policies might make it harder for them to find work or increase their health insurance costs. This is also a great opportunity to share with them information about the fringe benefits they are provided through the company.
Plan an office tour or schedule a site visit.
A jobsite tour is an excellent way to show elected officials how their actions impact your business. Here are few tips to get started.
- Scheduling: Send a written invitation and schedule the tour well in advance. Don’t forget to follow up the written invitation with a phone call and, if accepted, a written confirmation. Do not schedule a jobsite visit during inspections by the owner or government or during critical lifts or concrete installation.
- Participants: Make sure you invite your local ABC chapter, your employees and any subcontractors and their employees. It’s also a good idea to provide those attendees with highlights about the elected official’s background.
- Preparation: Check your jobsite before the tour and choose a route that will reinforce the image you want to convey. Have appropriate personal protective equipment available for visitors and avoid dangerous areas of the jobsite.
- Messaging: Decide on three key points and messages you want to convey to avoid overloading the elected official with information.
- Media: Tours are an excellent opportunity for media coverage; however, that should be left to the discretion of the elected official.
- Tour details: Have a definitive schedule but allow enough time to tour the jobsite and enjoy informal discussions. The CEO should greet the elected official but on jobsite tours, a project manager or someone else who can answer questions and introduce field staff, should lead the tour.
- Follow up: Don’t forget to send a letter of thanks that also reiterates key points from the visit. Provide any photographs taken during the event. Make sure you keep employees informed about the elected official’s position on key issues and encourage them to express their opinions to this elected official. Also, be sure to keep ABC up to date by sending a brief description of the meeting to [email protected].
Developing a relationship with an elected official is important but it’s also critical for you to make your views known when that person will be voting on a piece of legislation that affects you.
- Use the ABC Action App when you receive alerts about key issues.
- Email your elected officials. When a bill is coming up for a vote and there isn’t enough time for a personal meeting, email is a great way to voice your opinion.
- Pick up the phone. Elected officials’ offices almost always count the number of calls received for and against certain pieces of legislation and consider these calls an informal gauge of their constituents’ opinions. You can get their contact info in your Action App.
ABC is dedicated to furthering the merit ship philosophy and promoting legislation the benefits the construction industry but we need to your help to truly be effective.
Check out the grassroots section
of ABC’s website for more information or reach out to Chris Carroll at [email protected]