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Effective Advocacy in the U.S. and Canada

Just back from a week of vacation and a quick trip to Atlantic City for the New Jersey/New York State Fraternal Alliance meeting.  My brain is in one time zone and my body is in another.  Hopefully, the two will get synchronized soon because being hungry for dinner at 9:00 a.m. and falling asleep at 2:00 a.m. just doesn’t work as well as it used to back in the day.

I wanted to pass on two excellent examples of Alliance member society advocacy efforts that came across my desk while I was away.  These initiatives demonstrate just how effective and important the involvement of one society can be when it comes to communicating the value and viability of fraternals to public policy makers in the U.S. and Canada.


Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.)

Several months ago, Kevin Marti, president and CEO of Gleaner Life Insurance Association and an incoming member of the Alliance Board of Directors, invited the U.S. Representative from Gleaner’s congressional district – Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) – to visit the Gleaner home office in Adrian, Michigan.  Rep. Walberg and his district office director took Kevin up on his offer last week and met with the society’s executives and management team.  Kevin took the opportunity to not only discuss the good work Gleaner does in both the financial services and community service arenas, he also made sure that Rep. Walberg understood that Gleaner was just one of 70 members of the American Fraternal Alliance, and that each of those societies fulfill similar missions in virtually every state and town in the U.S.  Kevin happily reported that Rep. Walberg reiterated his full support for the continuation of the fraternal tax exemption in any future tax reform debate.  Kevin also reminded Rep. Walberg that Alliance CEOs will be coming to Washington, D.C., in April 2015, and that he looks forward to leading a delegation of Michigan fraternal representatives in a meeting with the Congressman in his Capitol Hill office.

Ever thought about inviting the Representative from your society’s congressional district to visit your office?  It’s not difficult, and the Alliance home office staff and our lobbying team at McBee Strategic can help you arrange such an event.  Interested?  Send me an email at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org and we’ll help you get started.

Peter Braid

Parliament Insurance Caucus Chair Peter Braid

Not to be outdone, Doug Baker, president and CEO of Teacher’s Life, an Alliance member domiciled in Toronto, Ontario, met with officials from the Canadian Parliament’s Insurance Caucus last week in a significant first step in enhancing the awareness of fraternals’ impact on the Canadian economy.  Doug reported that Caucus Chair Peter Braid expressed his thanks for sharing the fraternal story and their contributions to Canadian society.  Mike Wallace, a Member of Parliament from Burlington, Ontario, told Doug that he didn’t know fraternals existed before the meeting, but that he was very impressed with the concept of a cooperative business model for life insurance.

Ever thought about reaching out to the Insurance Committees of your state senate or assembly?  Even though the tax reform debate will take place almost exclusively on the federal level, members of Congress often seek input on issues from state legislators in their home districts before deciding on an issue.  Making sure state lawmakers are aware of who we are and what we do – either as an individual society or through your state fraternal alliance – is an excellent way to build a network of fraternal “champions” among policymakers at all levels.  Interested?  Send me an email at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org and we’ll help you get started. 

Please join me in thanking Kevin and Doug for taking the lead on these two important advocacy projects, and for setting a shining example for other Alliance member societies to follow.

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