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Taking it to The Hill

As participants of the recent series of Section Mid-Year Meetings know, the Alliance took another big, bold step in the public policy arena with the introduction of “The Promoting American Fraternalism Resolution” in Congress in late April.  The Resolution reaffirms the value and validity of the fraternal business model by recognizing the important contributions fraternals have made to “the private sector economic and societal support system” over the past century.

The Resolution has an impressive list of sponsors and co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle – providing a vivid demonstration that fraternalism knows no party boundaries. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) are the lead sponsors of the measure. Co-sponsors include Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL).

Three important results

The Resolution does not carry the weight of law, but it does accomplish three important things:

  • It provides Alliance member society executives, local chapter leaders, and State Fraternal Alliances with a clear and well-defined reason to contact members of Congress. In order to build momentum for enactment of this Resolution, we’ll need as many co-sponsors as possible. And the only way we’ll accomplish that is with your help. More on that below.
  • It allows members of Congress to express their support for the fraternal business model before a major debate on the overhaul of the U.S. Tax Code begins in earnest following the November elections.
  • It gives member societies and the Alliance the chance to shout our message from the mountaintops – to use the magic in the appeal of the business model we discovered in Phase 1 of our recent consumer research to reach out to the next generation of members through both social and traditional media. (Phase 2 results will be sent to all member societies this month.)

Why undertake such an ambitious project – passing anything in a Congress so deeply divided is an uphill battle – when there is no direct threat to the fraternal business model? Why raise Congressional awareness in time of such political dissent? Why not lay low and hope we’re left out of the tax reform debate?

These are all good questions that were thoroughly discussed by the Alliance Board. The decision by the Board was “this is the right thing to do and this is the right time to do it. We have the confidence that our business model is still as relevant today as it was a century ago; and we should have the courage to proactively deliver that message to Congress and ask for their support in expanding its impact.”

So what’s the plan?

Alliance members will soon be receiving a news release on the introduction of the Resolution. We hope you will promote this initiative to your members and field force through all your communications channels – magazines, newspapers, bulletins, social media sites. We want folks within the system to be aware and supportive of this effort. We’ll also be promoting the Resolution in the life insurance industry trade media, the non-profit community media, the Capitol Hill media, and selected general media across the country.

Securing as many co-sponsors among members of the House of Representatives is our primary objective. Over the next few months, several Alliance Board members will be traveling to D.C., for a series of Capitol Hill visits with lawmakers and their staff to recruit co-sponsors for the resolution. Other Board members will be meeting with legislators in their home districts during the August recess to accomplish the same objective.

Member society CEOs and senior executives, as well as State Fraternal Alliance leaders, who are interested in participating in the sponsorship recruitment effort should contact me immediately at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org. Let me know of any existing relationship(s) you might have with U.S. Representatives and your willingness to contact those lawmakers – via Capitol Hill visits, in-district meetings, or personal letters – to ask them to become a co-sponsor of the Resolution.

We’ll provide you with all the tools and training you need. However, it is critically important that we coordinate this effort so that we don’t duplicate contacts or send mixed messages to public policymakers. As such, we urge you to work with the Alliance and our federal lobbying team to initiate these meetings and requests.

This is a big deal, folks. We want to get this absolutely right and we need your help to accomplish this. We’re off to the races now and are looking forward to having you play a role in enacting the “Promoting American Fraternalism Resolution.”

3 Responses

  1. Remember that ultimately all political solutions are illusions, no real change happens through political action no matter how well intended.

    The fraternal model will survive only as it builds a generation of young folks who see a venue for service and a meaningful and profitable careers in the societies. Then they become powerful communicators, indeed preachers, not just sales agents, of the message of protection, belief, and future legacies, and live that out in their own lives.

    That is why mentoring should be the highest priority of the Fraternal leadership.

    Stan Hustad

    • Stan: I liked your response. It fits perfectly into the Branch Leadership Training the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association is in the process of rolling out to our members.
      Barbara Sekerak

  2. […] my last post, I briefed you on what I think is a pretty cool – and pretty important – Alliance advocacy […]

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