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ARSA CORNER


CONNECTING WITH CONGRESS (AND CANDIDATES) THIS ELECTION YEAR


BY CHRISTIAN A. KLEIN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, AERONAUTICAL REPAIR STATION ASSOCIATION


AS YOU READ THIS, DOZENS OF AVIATION MAINTENANCE LEADERS ARE PREPARING TO DESCEND (OR ALREADY DESCENDING) ON WASHINGTON, D.C. FOR MEETINGS WITH EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICIALS AND CONGRESS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE AERONAUTICAL REPAIR STATION ASSOCIATION’S 2018 ANNUAL REPAIR SYMPOSIUM. IF YOU’RE ONE OF THEM, YOUR TIME WILL BE WELL SPENT. YOU’LL BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH POLICYMAKERS AND HAVE AN IMPACT ON KEY PIECES OF LEGISLATION, INCLUDING THE BILL TO REAUTHORIZE THE FAA.


Even if you’re not coming to D.C. in March, there are many opportunities this year to make yourself politically visible, your voice heard, and lay the foundation for personal advocacy for your company and our industry in the years to come. No doubt you’re starting to hear more and more about the 2018 congressional elections. With large numbers of members of Congress (MC) retiring and Senate control hanging in balance, the elections create signifi cant opportunities for industry leaders to strengthen relationships with current MCs and build rapport with potential challengers. The need to raise money to pay for ads, workers, polling,


yard signs, travel, and every other facet of a winning campaign weighs heavy on the minds of candidates. By helping out – perhaps attending a campaign fundraising event – you can heighten your visibility and your company’s while helping elect candidates who share your values by making a campaign contribution. To fi nd out about opportunities, search for the candidate’s campaign website, call the number listed and ask about upcoming events. Every contribution – not matter how small – is valuable


and valued. The important thing is to use the opportunity of attending an event to get “face time” and make a personal connection with the candidate as well as his or her staff . Tell them who you are, what you do, what your


42 DOMmagazine.com | mar 2018


company does and what they can do in Washington, D.C. to create a better business environment for you (and our industry). You’re likely to get a very positive and grateful response, both for the support and the policy advice. Hosting MCs and candidates at your facility is another


great way to showcase what your company does, how many people you employ and how you contribute to your state’s economy. While the notion of hosting an MC may sound daunting, take it from someone who’s organized countless visits over his career: it isn’t. Call 202-224-3121 (the Capitol switchboard), give the operator the MC’s name or (if you don’t know it) your zip code. If you’re trying to invite a candidate who hasn’t been elected yet, just call the main number on the campaign website. When connected, ask to speak to the scheduler (every MC and candidate has one) and explain that you’d like to host a facility visit. Ask them for their email address and tell them you’ll send the request in writing. Once you’ve locked down a date and time (it may take


a while, be patient but persistent), coordinating the visit itself is much easier than you’d expect. On the day of the event, plan to spend 10 or 15 minutes with your executive team and guest in your conference room talking about the company and getting their perspective on the issues that matter to you (FAA, taxes, regulations, etc.). Then take them on a company tour to see the business fi rst hand and


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