Join Our Force in Washington D.C.CED Magazine
Article Date: 01-01-2011
Copyright(C) 2011 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Educate legislators at AED's Fly-In on May 11-12.
In 2010, AED capitalized on a groundswell of member activism. A stunning 28 ImPACt meetings were held across the county – the most in AED history. Focusing on the races that would determine control on Capitol Hill, AED supported promising open-seat and challenger candidates. Of the 13 challengers in House contests supported by AED, all but two won. Additionally, all four Senate candidates in open races who received PAC funds bested their opponents.
Now those candidates are on Capitol Hill, part of an unprecedented number of new members of Congress – 94 in total. According to Christian Klein, AED's vice president of Government Affairs and Washington counsel, the sheer volume of new faces is one reason AED is asking every dealer member to descend on Washington on May 11-12, for the Washington Fly-In (formerly called the Spring Government Affairs Conference).
"Many of these new legislators don't know anything about the construction equipment distribution industry," said Klein. "They are being bombarded by hundreds of organizations, so it is critical to educate them on the concerns of our industry." Add to that task the need to continue to influence incumbents and legislators who were not up for re-election this past November, and you quickly realize why AED needs your full support in Washington, D.C.
The stakes for dealers are enormous in 2011. Up for consideration in the coming year will be legislation on highway and water infrastructure investment, economic recovery for the construction industry, protection of LIFO, and legislation to restore a level of predictability to the tax code.
"It's time to take it to the next step, to build on the success of the last election cycle," said Klein. "The way to do it is through communication."
Klein believes dealers carry a tremendous amount of weight with legislators because they often don't hear from local business people. "They can speak directly about how legislation affects their companies and jobs in their community."
According to Klein, dealers shouldn't shy away from the conference because they don't feel comfortable meeting legislators and discussing political issues. One of the primary goals of the Fly-In is to prepare dealers for their meetings. This is accomplished through briefings by AED's Washington staff, influential members of Congress, and key players from allied trade organizations. Veterans of the event also serve as mentors to first-time attendees.
"We take a cadre of industry leaders and turn them into effective advocates for the industry," said Klein. At the request of past participants, this year's event will include a full day of meetings with legislators.
"Frustration with government is at an all-time high, and most people don't know what to do about it," said Klein. Participation in events like the Washington Fly-In are a means for AED members to make a real difference. "It provides a way for dealers to engage in the political process."
Register for the Fly-In here: http://www.aednet.org/fly-in/
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