As the industry’s national association, ASA is in a unique position to influence building and product codes, federal and state regulatory issues as well as legislation, as it emerges. 

We monitor both national and state levels when the buzz among influencers is beginning, which allows us early opportunities to act — when it matters most.  Additionally, ASA works hard to support elected leaders and candidates for office — individuals who see the value of our industry.  While one person can have an impact, together, speaking and acting with one voice, is a powerful force for success. 

And while we have become more and more successful in our lobbying efforts, we are only successful as a partnership — with the members in the industry who are engaging with us.  

Recently, I was talking to one of my fellow buying-group members who knew I was active with ASA’s advocacy and lobbying efforts.  He was really put off by the lobbying concept and all of the negative connotations that came with it.  I said that we had an obligation to educate our elected leaders about our issues and how their actions can have a profound negative impact on our ability to grow as a business and hire their constituents. 

He shared his frustration about how all of the regulations at every level of government caused him to spend hours and hours every week to comply with rules he didn’t feel had any positive impact. 

He noticed that I was smiling.

I told him that he just spent about five minutes enthusiastically lobbying me about being over-regulated and the burden it had on business. Lobbying is not hard and it’s really not a bad word. It’s finding something that you are passionate about and doing something about it. 

We all have things that we are passionate about, and the most important are the issues that can hurt or help our business.  ASA has been engaging our industry more and more each year to help us fight for reasonable regulations, legislation and even codes. 

Several buying groups have held their meetings in Washington, D.C., and worked with ASA to go up to Capitol Hill and lobby for the industry. We have been inviting members to make a trip to Washington to personally lobby their elected leaders. This fall during NETWORK in Washington, we will formally assemble and ascend onto Capitol Hill, taking folks to see their congressional leaders.

Whether you are a member of ASA or not, it is vitally important that you establish a relationship with your elected leaders. It’s not hard, and truthfully they actually want to hear from you! Attend one of their town-hall meetings and ask questions, or better yet, voice your concerns about what is happening. 

Invite your elected leaders to come visit your business and meet your employees so they can experience firsthand what it is that you do, and the problems you are dealing with as a business owner.   

My personal request is that every person that makes a living from this industry stop yelling at the television set and actually do something.

I truly believe that every American should visit the Hill at least once in their lives. It is totally worth it. If we all band together and act, then the 200,000 people that are building careers in our industry can have a profound impact. 

So let’s start today and start advocating something that we are passionate about. Let’s start lobbying for a stronger industry.

See you in Washington.