In January, the American Rental Association (ARA) decided to not hold its annual National Legislative Caucus in 2022, due to ongoing concerns with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and because Congress has yet to return to its normal protocol for Congressional visits on Capitol Hill.
However, this should not dampen advocacy efforts. In fact, now is the time to step up by contacting your local, state and federal representatives.
According to the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), Congressional offices have seen constituent communications increase anywhere from 200 to 1,000 percent during the past decade, forcing Congressional staff to prioritize incoming messages. Ultimately, these adaptations have made the cultivation of constituent-lawmaker relationships one of the most important factors in policymaking.
Relationships are what drive legislative change in Washington, D.C., at your state capital and in your city or town. According to a CMF survey of senior Congressional staff, one of the best ways to build a better relationship with a Congressional office is to meet with staff at their in-district offices.
In fact, 79 percent said that building a relationship with the legislative assistant was a great way to increase your profile in their office. That’s compared to 59 percent who said that constituent meetings in-district were another way to form a connection — underscoring that you don’t have to be a D.C. insider to create change.
Attending in-district meetings and town halls, communicating with the office and building relationships with staff members can cultivate a long-lasting relationship with your policymaker and ensure that you can cut through the noise.
While business is picking up for many in the equipment and event rental industry, it is imperative that members make time to build these relationships and advocate for themselves and their industry in a consistent way in order for them to know who you are to understand the industry and offer support when an issue arises.
What you can do
Participate in American Rental Association (ARA) calls to action. Most recently, ARA asked members to go online to economicbridgecoalition.org to support the coalition’s efforts to help those left out of federal coronavirus (COVID-19) relief funds.
Learn more about ARAPAC — ARA’s political action committee. ARAPAC is one of the key resources for ARA’s government relations team to use to further members’ business and industry goals. Registered with the Federal Election Commission, ARAPAC allows eligible PAC members to pool personal voluntary financial contributions to support candidates seeking elective office at the federal level who support issues important to businesses, employees and shareholders in the equipment and event rental industry. Learn more and join at ARArental.org/ARAPAC.
Set up a meeting with your legislator at home in your legislative district. Invite them to visit your store and learn about equipment or event rental, your business and what you need.
Get involved in your state’s association. Most state associations keep close tabs on issues that can impact the industry at a state level. Share this information with others and ARA and get involved in activities that advocate for your business. Being proactive on an issue is so much better than trying to change it after the fact.
Alysia Ryan, J.D., is ARA’s director of state government affairs. To learn more about ARA’s government affairs efforts, visit ARArental.org/government-affairs.