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I’m just a bill on Capitol Hill…

I spent the better part of last week in Washington, D.C., meeting with our federal lobbying team, staff members of Representatives and Senators who serve on key committees with oversight of tax issues, and the Alliance’s consumer research consultant.  No matter how frequently I visit Washington, I always come away enlightened – or absolutely befuddled.  Last week’s excursion resulted in a little of both.

On the enlightenment side of the ledger, I continue to be impressed with the Alliance’s federal lobbyists.  The folks representing your interests on Capitol Hill – Jenn Fogel-Bublick and Gabe Horwitz of McBee Strategic Consulting – are well-connected and well-respected.  You can take pride in the fact that your society and its trade association have such excellent advocates walking the halls of Congress on our behalf. 

I’m befuddled at public policymakers’ lack of awareness of the fraternal system, but encouraged by their response when I explain who we are and what we do.  Their reactions are almost universal and can be summed up simply as: “Wow, what an incredible business model.  How come more people don’t know about it?”

Well, a big part of the Alliance’s job is making sure that folks in the public policy community – members of Congress, state legislators, state regulators, and the thousands of Capitol Hill, state capitol and in-district staff members that support them – not only know about us, but understand the valuable contributions we make to our members’ financial security and the quality of life in the communities where we live and work. 

That’s going to take more than a lobbying firm and more than my regular trips to Washington to accomplish.  We’ll need as many members as possible to become more active political advocates – not so much by traveling to Capitol Hill, but by engaging lawmakers in their home states and districts.  You’ll be hearing much more from us on these types of activities in the coming months.  Elizabeth Snyder heads up the Alliance’s political outreach efforts.  You can make her job much easier by letting her know if your society or its local social networks have any really outstanding community service projects lined up between now and the end of the year that might make sense for a legislator to attend (i.e., great photo op with likely voters doing good works in the lawmaker’s community).  You can reach Elizabeth at esnyder@fraternalalliance.org or (630) 522-6322, Ext. 115.…

DC tidbits…

There is only one issue that means anything in D.C. these days – the debt ceiling/deficit reduction debate.  While the outcome of this game of political chicken is sure to have some tax ramifications, insiders on both sides of the aisle tell me that the real battle in overhauling the tax code won’t take place until after the 2012 election.  That means we have just less than two years to gird for the coming tax reform debate.  Our most effective strategy is to ensure that lawmakers and their staffs know what a fraternal is, why we are important players in the financial and community service sectors, and how their constituents are impacted by the fraternal presence in their districts.  Want more information on the debt ceiling end-game?  Check out the latest report on the issue from our federal lobbying firm, McBee…

And speaking of the 2012 election, I asked two old friends and GOP activists “who is going to be the party’s presidential candidate?”  Their unanimous response:  If Texas Governor Rick Perry decides to enter the race, the nomination is his.  If he opts out, Mitt Romney will top the GOP ticket.  I also asked who their preferred candidate would be.  Again, a unanimous response: Haley Barbour or Mitch Daniels.  Cut this out, put it on your wall, and see if they’re right one year from now.

2 Responses

  1. The American people have the best government, that corporate america can buy>

  2. Thanks Joe and I always encourage people to remember what I call “the political illusion.” To think that anything significant, eternal, and truly important will come to us through political action is indeed an illusion. We need to touch the hearts of the folks with our story because ultimately no one in Washington really cares about our story and mission.

    Be the lead storyteller and missionary to the good entrepreneurs of life and business. I literally find that every time I go to DC I come away shaking my head at some of the darkness I feel and have a desire to shout out…”the answers to your life and business are not here!”

    Stan Hustad

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