Like many business owners, I like to look before I leap. That’s not to say I won’t take chances, or head into uncharted territory. We all have to do that to be successful. But before I take that chance, I make sure I do my research. I like knowing the possibilities and setting an expected outcome.
I think it would be accurate to say that prior to my involvement with ASA on a national level I was totally absent from the political process. It’s such a fluid environment, it just wasn’t something I thought would be a beneficial use of my time. In my awareness of the process, any of the expected outcomes I could foresee as a result of me taking part in political meetings were just not worth it. Then I went to my first ASA Legislative Fly-In.
The first time I went to D.C., I met with both my congressman and my senator. I was energized by their interest in my business and our industry, so much so that once I returned home, I got very involved in the 2010 elections. Through this activity, I maintained a connection with my congressman and continued to cultivate that relationship.
As a result of getting to know him and our ongoing contact, when recent business issues have come up in my local region, he has gone over and above in his willingness to look out for local interests, and the PHCP and PVF industry in particular. Here’s the kicker - he’s in the opposite party from the one I typically support, including in my involvement in the 2010 election.
Prior to this experience, I thought that politics was always, always, a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” process, with little room for alternatives or making a difference. I am witness to the fact that that is not always the case; that being involved in holding respectful, educated dialogue with your elected officials can, and in my case did, make a difference. Sometimes I’m still surprised at how well it has worked. It is just amazing.
ASA has several time-worthy programs available to help cultivate this type of relationship with your elected officials and to be counted in our industry’s voice. The Legislative Fly-In is held each spring, where you can travel to D.C., participate in legislative briefings and hear from some of the town’s movers and shakers before heading to Capitol Hill to meet with your senators and representative. It’s an investment of your time that can give you a return 10 times over, and beyond.
Follow up your participation in the Fly-In by inviting your congressional representative to your place of business. The ASA Congressional Visit Program provides step-by-step guidelines on how to invite your representative and the best times of year to do so, followed by the types of meetings and Q&A to have scheduled for the day, and finally, the appropriate measures to take in following up on the visit to ensure that any action items discussed stay on the top of the representative’s priority list.
In the meanwhile, visit www.asa.net and scroll through the Advocacy section to see what work ASA is doing on your behalf and for the industry as a whole. Our newly-hired director of government affairs, Dan Hilton, is already making his presence known on the Hill, as he has visited the office of every senator and representative on ASA’s behalf. He has a full schedule each week, making our industry’s interests a priority in the legislative and regulatory process. Support these efforts by doing your part in taking action and maybe, just maybe, you, too, will be amazed at the results.
Kenny Pipe &