GOTV: Take advantage of August recess
06/05/2012

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are scheduled to return to their districts starting Aug. 6. This is the perfect opportunity to plan a meet-and-greet event or a tour of your facility with elected officials.

A meet-and-greet provides you and your staff members with an opportunity to develop relationships and discuss issues with representatives who make decisions affecting your company and the equipment rental industry. Strong personal relationships with policymakers are essential to successful grassroots advocacy. Educating legislators and making them aware of your business and industry through a meet-and-greet can potentially help in influencing future public policy decisions.

In addition, a meet-and-greet can help your employees evaluate candidates who will be on the ballot in November. The event is an opportunity for candidates to deliver their messages and increase their visibility. Be aware that if you are conducting a meet-and-greet for all employees during a campaign season, there are Federal Election Commission rules that need to be observed. Check with legal counsel about making a meet-and-greet available if asked by opposing candidates.

Also consider inviting a legislator to your next state association meeting event. Ask a member to host the meeting and offer a tour of the facility before or after the discussion of issues. Members of your association can use this time to share information about the equipment rental industry and its economic impact locally and nationally. Use specific numbers — the number of people the industry employs nationally and locally, who the customers are and where revenues go, for example — to demonstrate the impact a store can have on the community in which it does business. If possible, compile some literature for your legislator to take away from the meeting.

Meet-and-greet events can be simple, but the impact of seeing a rental facility in action will drive home the essence of the industry.
Call the office of your representative to schedule a meeting, and have several possible dates and times available as their schedules fill
up quickly.

Alysia Ryan is director of state government affairs for the American Rental Association (ARA), Moline, Ill. She can be reached at 800-334-2177, ext. 271, or email alysia.ryan@ararental.org.