Advocacy--Making Your Voice Heard
by Michelle Dreier
Member Engagement/Gov't Affairs Manager
If you were not able to be present at our legislative luncheon at the Winter Conference, the main takeaway message is that your legislators want to meet you.
They want to learn about your business. They want to learn about your concerns and how they can make government work for you. The best way you can make your voice heard is to meet with your legislator and educate them regarding electrical contractor issues.
Let’s face it, the new Minnesota administration is more likely to favor labor than business. Legislatively, Republicans have a one seat majority over Democrats in the Senate, and DFL has a significant majority in the House.
For those of you that live in a district with a newly-elected legislator, especially if they’re DFL, the time to meet with them is now. Help them help you!
Help them understand the needs of small businesses to help them make decisions that positively affect you and your business.
Grassroots is going to be imperative this session. Do you feel disengaged in the legislative process? Do you feel like your legislators don’t understand your needs? Your legislators not only want to hear from you, they need to hear from you to understand how current laws and proposed laws affect your business.
During session, legislators can typically only spare a few minutes, but don’t let this stop you. Legislators would much rather have someone like you reach out, than a lobbyist they see regularly. Give them the opportunity to serve you.
Legislators welcome invitations to tour your shop or meet for a cold or warm beverage to discuss issues important to you. They might be able to squeeze some time in during session, but will definitely welcome a more leisurely chat when the legislature is adjourned between sessions. A legislative tour could be a visit to your shop so you can demonstrate the work you do for your community. You could also facilitate a tour of a recent project in your community to show the type of service you perform. Call me—I am happy to help you plan the event if you like.
During session, I may reach out to ask your assistance as we try to push forward on issues that mean a lot to electrical contractors. Don’t wait for me to call upon you to reach out to your representatives. I’m always happy to help you schedule something and even help you prepare with talking points.
Members should take a minute to read Bill's article on page 3 for details on the upcoming session!