It was wonderful to see such a strong showing of landscape professionals on Capitol Hill last week. Members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals are well aware of the benefits the landscape industry brings to our environment and our communities: clean air, safer communities, beautiful neighborhoods, and jobs.
“Ours is a $175 billion industry that employs almost 2 million people.”
The importance of sharing this message with lawmakers, and reinforcing it time and time again, cannot be overestimated. Every day our elected officials are inundated with requests to support or oppose legislation in areas that have a direct impact on our businesses and lives. If our industry does not have an effective voice, then those special interests and groups supporting messages and undue regulatory burdens harmful to our industry will win by default. Sharing your personal story with lawmakers during Legislative Day was vitally important. Continuing to follow up with the Senators, Representatives and staff you met with during your visits is even more important. I know it is difficult to find the time to advocate for the industry when there are already not enough hours in the day, but please take a few minutes to send a thank you note to everyone you met with. NALP has template letters that you can personalize and send to those you met with. Contact information for elected officials can be found on the NALP website.
Further, stay engaged. If your Representative has a town hall meeting during the month of August, attend the meeting and take a few minutes to reiterate the most concerning issues impacting your business, whether it is water, fertilizer or pesticide regulation, or labor issues. Continue to check in regularly with your Senator or Representative’s office. If your Congressman or Congresswoman has been particularly helpful on an issue important to your business, consider attending a low cost fundraiser for him or her in your area. Donate to the NALP PAC to help us support pro-industry candidates. Continue to tell your story over and over. You are the face of a very vibrant and wonderful industry. Please continue to remind your elected officials about this fact on a regular basis.
“The key to successful advocacy is RELENTLESS ADVOCACY – ongoing engagement that is not limited to an annual event.”
Laurie-Ann Flanagan is Executive Vice President at DCLRS with over 20 years of experience in the federal legislative and regulatory process. DCLRS has served as a government relations consultant to the association since 2003.