Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely.  The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Would you be pleased if your child received a 60% on an exam? In terms of voter participation, Americans are achieving a grade that low. According to the University of Virginia’s Dr. Larry Sabato, in 2008 61.6% of eligible Americans turned out to vote - a record number.  In 2004, the number was 60.1%.Voting is a right that Americans have died for and fought to preserve. Voting and educating yourself on the issues are the best ways to honor veterans’ sacrifice. 

In case you haven’t recently logged onto the Advocacy section of ASA’s website, it is time you did so. Whether you are interested in knowing where and when you can cast your ballot, and who will be on it, these answers and more can be found there.

Members of Congress love to talk about transparency. They remind us that “sunshine is the best disinfectant.” As a longtime staffer in the House of Representatives, I can say that we were inundated with requests for information and also about where a representative stood on a particular topic. Others would send us letters on their company’s letterhead in support for or against a particular issue. Two facts about this come to mind immediately. First, each of these levels of communication had an impact and managed to “move the dial.”  Secondly, they are all available today to our members.

An Informed Voter

Powered by our partners at the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC), ASA members now have a gateway of information. To access that gateway, all members need is just five digits. With the click of a button and by entering one’s zip code, members can learn where their polling place is, who’ll be on the ballot and much more. They’ll learn when they can begin voting and where they go to vote on Election Day. Have a son or daughter interested in registering and voting for the first time? You can do that here as well. Have a sibling living overseas? You can apply today for an expatriate ballot through ASA’s Election Center.

As Roosevelt said, we should be prepared to choose wisely. You can learn not only who will be on your ballot, but if you are interested in connecting with a particular candidate, we’ll not only provide their mailing address, but also links to their campaign website, Facebook, YouTube, and even their Twitter handle.

Keeping Score

It has often been said that incumbency has its advantages. Through the Advocacy section of ASA’s website, it could also be a disadvantage because we hold today’s members of the House and Senate accountable for their positions. By clicking on the words How your elected officials stand on our issues, you’ll get more than just a brief bio of your sitting Senator or Congressman, but how they have voted on matters of importance to ASA and the business community.  Do they believe in cutting or raising your taxes? Do they support loosening the regulatory stranglehold that many feel is holding back our recovery, or do they prefer to keep them in place? Does your representative oppose the National Labor Relations Board’s aggressive actions to impose “Card Check” through administrative actions, or do they believe in what the NLRB is doing?

Members of the House typically cast between 700-to 900 votes a year (less than 250 in the Senate), and we’re showing you but a few. Many are for specific amendments to a bill, others are simple resolutions naming a post office or commemorating a local hero. However, there are thousands of pieces of legislation that they can add their names to as a cosponsor. Even though these bills may not come for a vote, it is often an effective way of touting one’s support for a particular issue.

ASA has highlighted certain bills that would benefit small business and the PHCP and PVF industry. You can judge for yourself how supportive your legislator has been on these issues. In time, as ASA’s presence continues to grow, we will develop our “scorecard” for elected officials and remind them of our association’s interests. When a member of Congress is reminded that thousands of members of a particular group want action taken on a particular issue, it can make a difference.

Would you like to display these posters? These graphics are available in poster format through BIPAC.

Archive of Progress

Since we’ve established our full-time presence in Washington, we have collaborated with a wide variety of our peers to advance a number of important causes. To keep our members abreast of our actions in Washington and the positions we have taken, you can go to the Legislative Issues button on the ASA website and view a host of areas where we’ve had an impact including issues  on health-care reform, energy, transportation and infrastructure and tax reform. We’ve staked our ground on a growing number of public policy issues that impact the employer, both large and small. In addition, we’ve included a number of new links to resources that should be of interest to our members.

Posters can be obtained by contacting Dan Hilton at dhilton@asa.net or 703/328-5234.

Finally, as ASA’s influence continues to grow in Washington, so do requests for support from candidates for office. ASA-PAC is supportive of those who are supportive of us. Elected officials that understand the risks taken each day by employers and the business community to help right our economy are who we support. Also, we champion those who go above and beyond in their support for issues such as opposing LIFO repeal, metal theft and water infrastructure. ASA members can go directly to our dedicated ASA-PAC page to view items related to the upcoming election, our activities as well as provide ASA with your authorization to solicit, as required by law.

These are just a few of the new tools we are bringing our members so that they can be an even more informed voter. Take a few minutes and see for yourself at www.asa.net"and look for the Advocacy button.

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