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Real People, Real Stories, Real Results…

The American Fraternal Alliance does not have a Political Action Committee (PAC) that makes contributions to legislators. But I would argue that what we have is more effective than any PAC.

Group shot

Group shot of Lobby Day participants

Our secret weapon? The real people that share the real stories about what their societies do every day in communities across the U.S. and Canada. They are able to communicate the “But for…” message to lawmakers that no PAC contribution or professional lobbyist ever could.

What’s the “But for…” message? That’s my personal code for zeroing in on the community service efforts we conduct that, but for the existence of Alliance member societies, would not get done. Random acts of kindness are wonderful, and fraternal members carry those out in spades.

But it’s the organization and funding fraternals provide through thousands of local chapters that turn those random acts into a powerful and long lasting source of good.

Rep. Williams - TX

Team visiting with Texas Congressman, Roger Williams.

And earlier this month we proved once again that the best advocates the Alliance has are its members. I was privileged to participate in a grassroots advocacy event organized by Thrivent’s government affairs team (an incredibly effective group of professionals if there ever was one) that brought more than two dozen of Thrivent’s local chapter leaders to Washington, DC for face-to-face meetings with their members of Congress.

Thrivent does these events on a regular basis, but this was the first time I had the chance to attend. And this event was just a little different because Thrivent worked with the Alliance to arrange for volunteers from other member societies — Modern Woodmen of America, Catholic Life Insurance, Gleaner Life, and Woman’s Life — to participate, as well.

Andy Barr and Team KY

Team visiting with Kentucky Congressman and House Congressional Resolution 19 Co-Sponsor, Andy Barr.

We took a half-day to prepare the folks for their Capitol Hill meetings. After all, most of them had never met with their legislators and some were intimidated or wondering what difference their voices would make.

We started by asking them to share their stories of fraternalism with the group — why they got involved, what their local chapters have contributed to the community, and what they got out of these efforts. And those stories were so touching, so impactful, and so honest that about all we had to do after that is encourage them to tell them again when their visited their lawmakers.

And they did so with gusto and impact.

Kevin Brady and Texas 2

Team visiting with Texas Congressman, Kevin Brady

We marched up to Capitol Hill with 87 co-sponsors for HCR 19 — the Alliance’s “Fraternal Resolution” for which we are trying to recruit 100 co-sponsors. As of today, we have 98 — 98!!! — co-sponsors. And I’m confident we’ll secure two more House members before Congress adjourns later this year.

That increase is a DIRECT RESULT of the visits to legislators from Alliance member societies. And that’s an incredible accomplishment of which those individuals, their societies, and the entire fraternal system should proud.

Look for more of these activities to form the foundation of the Alliance’s future advocacy efforts. Are you or your society interested in participating in these type of events? Post your contact information here or send me a private email a jannotti@fraternalalliance.org.

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