THE TAKEAWAY: 2020 is an opportunity for you to make a mark in Advocacy, and our Chambers provide many ways for you to do so.
Many will probably remember 2019 as the year they’d like to forget in politics (to be honest, I think we wrote this in 2017, 2018, and 2019). No matter which side you find yourself on heading into this election, you’re probably bunkering down and hoping political ads don’t wind up on the Mandalorian. (Except for SNL’s political skits. Please, can we have more Larry David as Bernie Sanders?) You rang in the New Year last week, bracing yourself for the 2020 election.
This week, we’ll run down the New Year’s resolutions all politically interested business leaders should adopt. Best part? They’re all really easy for you to keep past January 12th. The first thing to add to your New Year’s resolutions this year is to purposefully get involved in Advocacy.
Now, you might find yourself wanting a break from politics. And actually, that’s not really what we’re asking you to get involved in. We’re asking you to engage in policy. There’s a major difference.
Whether you’re excited with the changes coming to our Statehouse and Washington, or you’re disappointed, it’s more important than ever to take an active role in shaping policy. At all of our Upstate Chambers, we provide opportunities to engage in policy and develop deeper relationships with your elected officials. Here are some ways for you to get involved in 2020:
- Sign up for our weekly updates. We send out updates nearly every Friday on what’s going on at the Statehouse, and how legislation is shaping up that affects the business community. We try to keep these updates easy to read, jargon-free, and skimmable. We know that you’re busy running your business, and you don’t always have time keep up with what’s going on in Columbia. Our weekly updates will help keep you informed.
- Get involved in an Advocacy committee. Many of our Chambers have policy committees that meet once a month. Some of our Chambers have multiple committees:
- The Greenville Chamber has four advocacy committees: 1. Business Advocacy Committee, 2. Energy & Environmental Compliance Committee, 3. Healthcare and Community Wellness Committee, 4. Growth and Infrastructure Committee. Each of these committees includes updates of what’s going on in their respective areas, and is great way to get plugged in to an issue. You’re also likely to run into a member of the legislative delegation or City or County Council. If you’d like to know a little more about one of these, please email me.
- The Anderson Chamber has a water resources committee.
- Other Chambers appoint ad hoc committees from time to time.
- Respond to calls-to-action. Throughout the legislative session, we sometimes send out calls-to-action asking our investors to take action in making a phone call or emailing their representative about a certain issue. We do this when a piece of legislation that you told us is critically important to the business community needs help getting across the finish line. Your calls and emails are important. It takes five minutes but could save your company money, provide you a stronger workforce, or improve our community. Responding to our calls-to-action gives you a way to directly influence policy.
- Attend the National Issues Forum in Washington, DC in September. This is a great opportunity for you to meet our state congressional delegation, see the legislative process up-close, and hear from our leaders on policy. We also have national media figures speak (Bob Scheiffer and Major Garrett in the last few years), and have receptions with congressmen and staff at some of Washington’s unforgettable locations. We have some great surprises set for our 2020 trip in September. Price to attend is about $750 + travel.
- Take our Advocacy 101 class. This two-day class offers great instruction into how to advocate for an issue. Taught by some of the Southeast’s best political advocates, we cover how a bill becomes a law, building grassroots, building political capital, and more. Reach out to me for more information.
- Become a candidate. We always say that the best way to pass pro-business legislation is to have pro-business legislators in office. This year our Chambers will host candidate schools, known as The Upstate Political Leadership Institute, where you can learn the nuts and bolts of running for office. The course will be offered in the fall, and if you’d like to know more about these classes, feel free to reach out to me.
Even though some of the above opportunities may seem small, just making a phone call to a legislator can have a much bigger impact than you may think. For more information on our Business Advocacy and how to get involved click here.