Dear Industry Member:
Building a relationship with Congress is critical to protecting your financial interests. Simply put: failing to have a connection with the ultimate arbiters of your company’s fate is just plain unwise. On the other hand, a strong relationship can work miracles. Here are three success stories we hope will inspire you to double down on your own Congressional outreach efforts. Remember that you never have to go it alone – we are always here to help.
Gardener’s Supply Co., King Arthur Baking Co. and The Vermont Country Store:
Over the past two years, these three great Vermont firms’ CEOs have engaged in an ongoing dialogue with their Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) to inform him of the key issues they face as direct marketers, including the elasticity of demand and how the effects of postal decisions could affect staffing. This communication formed the basis of the positive relationship they now enjoy.
How They Succeeded
When the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing on February 24th. Rep. Welch was well versed on this issue, asking Postmaster General Louis DeJoy point blank if he had considered the effect on volume from price increases (hearing video link: https://oversight.house.gov/legislation/hearings/legislative-proposals-to-put-the-postal-service-on-sustainable-financial at 3:44:26).
The PMG evaded this subject. Meanwhile, Mr. Welch did get catalog/direct mail issues into the formal Congressional record and raised our political capital on the Hill. This is a significant victory for these three companies and by extension the industry. It shows that investing time in cultivating relationships with your Congressional delegation can pay dividends over time in terms of access, impact, and support.
LSC Communications has plants across the country. It has leveraged this constituent standing to reach out not only to staff in many Congressional offices but also to Members of Congress directly, getting two representatives on phone calls twice each. They have brought plant managers onto the calls and have made a compelling case for impacted jobs in their districts, securing pledges for assistance in both stopping a second 2021 postal rate increase as well as what elements must be included in eventual (hoped for) postal reform legislation.
LSC has contributed mightily toward ACMA talking points, leave behinds, and other supporting collateral. Each of these represent a continuing advocacy opportunity as Hill offices seek our input on issues at play in postal and other external affairs.
Bradford Exchange / Hammacher Schlemmer:
Working closely with ACMA staff, Bradford, an ESOP with standing in several Congressional districts, has gotten all of its employees to send letters to Congress asking Members to step in to curtail postal increases and to work against proposed increases in delayed mail delivery. Bradford’s efforts are designed to raise awareness of these issues in Congress and to lend support to the efforts of Senators and Representatives who have expressed their concerns over postal management proposals that would be deleterious to our industry.
A generous contributor to the ACMA Postal War Chest, Bradford has also encouraged its supplier base to engage in outreach and funding. Bradford executives continue to reach out to Members of Congress so that Members know the company better than ever and its importance to local jobs and tax revenues.
What You Can Do
For starters, please thank these fine companies for their leadership. (Simply send your note to our email@example.com address and we’ll be happy to forward it right on.) If you have been taking action in support of our objectives, please do make sure we are up to speed. You can routinely cc or bcc firstname.lastname@example.org on all your emails to elected officials so ACMA government affairs personnel can follow up with Congressional offices.
Companies of all levels of sophistication can have a relationship with federal and local lawmakers. ACMA has the “technology” to make this easy, relatively painless, and easier to engage your employees, suppliers, and customers. Each of these leading firms has taken action and are moving the needle mightily in the locations they have standing.
With 535 Members in both houses, more outreach is needed. Hopefully the example of these fine companies will motivate and inspire you to take action likewise.
Please let us know how we might assist in this process!
President & Executive Director