By Dave Durstine
Over the past several years, FAMA/FEMSA member companies have had a wide variety of Home Day events take place across the country. Through these events, FAMA/FEMSA member companies have begun to forge strong relationships with their Congressional Representatives and key Congressional staff. These relationships are the key to reinforce the importance of our concern for ongoing federal support for the safety of first responders and the vitality of our businesses within the community. It is extremely important for your company to establish relations with your congressional offices. If you already have a relationship with them, now is the time to renew them, as Congress annually at this time makes important decisions on future appropriations with key FAMA/FEMSA priorities. Remember the old adage: “Out of sight, out of mind.” We cannot assume that the strong congressional support we have enjoyed in the past will continue in today’s pandemic era with massive federal deficits, political gridlock, and significant change.
The GAC and I strongly encourage all member companies to visit with your local congressional delegation and staff sharing first-hand the importance of your company to your congressional district and state. A Home Day event, as has traditionally been conducted, maybe a bit difficult in these current COVID times, but it doesn’t have to be! A simple individual telephone conversation or a virtual video meeting is all you need to initiate or further forge relationships with your delegates and their staff.
I also feel it is important to emphasize the critical role staffers play in this political world. A meeting with them in many cases is more impactful than a call or a meeting with the congressional delegate themselves. The staffers are the worker bees behind the scenes gathering and building the details and cases for the delegates. Remember, when you see the Members of Congress on the House or Senate floors speaking intelligently (and yes, I use this word vaguely in this reference) on an issue, in most cases the details they are reporting were created and formulated by their staffs.
In order to help facilitate Home Day activities in whatever form this year, the GAC has prepared a Home Day toolkit to help guide you, which is available for download on the FAMA/FEMSA GAC website.
The GAC members and I are always here to help answer questions or provide insight for your next Home Day event or congressional meeting. The relationships we have all created have been instrumental in our success over the past few years and, even more importantly, over the past few COVID months. Please do your part to contribute and schedule your next meeting or call with a delegate or their staff today.