Meeting Members of Congress|
The most important thing to remember as you prepare to meet with your representative and senators is that petitioning your government for redress of grievances is a right protected by the Constitution. The significance of the impact you can have upon the political process should inspire some awe in you; however, it should not be intimidating. Remember that this is your government that you elected to represent you.
By meeting with your representatives, you are not only helping your government to represent you better, you are also reinforcing AED's legislative work in a very important way. You are demonstrating to your members of Congress that AED's membership is politically active and concerned, not just about the issues facing our industry, but also about the issues facing our nation.
As you meet with your representatives to discuss legislation and policy issues, keep the following in mind:
- Reinforce the impact that laws and policies have on you, your company, and your employees. Members of Congress spend a great deal of time in Washington discussing the theoretical implications of certain laws; however, they do not have a lot of exposure the practical ramifications of those laws. Tell them how the laws affect you and your business. Demonstrate to your representatives how a change in the law can improve or harm your productivity, and describe the impact that this will have on the economy in your district and state. If possible, use specific examples and anecdotes wherever possible.
- Tell your representatives how many employees you have. It is important you establish yourself in the member's mind, not just as a constituent and voter, but also as a representative of other voters in his district or state. Doing so will reinforce your credibility in discussing the regional economic impact of national legislation. Members of Congress will be more likely to listen to you and to support AED's priorities if they understand exactly how many people are affected by laws that affect your business.
- Ask members to support AED's legislative positions. AED arrives at its policy positions through a democratic process after extensive debate and analysis about what policies will best benefit the interests of our members. Throughout the year, AED's Washington office works with officials in the executive and legislative branch and with business and industry representatives to implement AED's policy priorities. However, it is imperative that individual AED members also articulate their support for AED's positions to their representatives to demonstrate to Congress the breadth of support for our agenda.