Lobby For The Hobby
"We the people of the United States" are not just words from the first line of an old document. We are the people who love muscle cars, hot rods, street rods, tuners, replicas, off-road trucks, and many other varieties of automotive pursuits as diverse as our country. We are also the people who have to work to protect our automotive passions from unnecessary, unfair, or well intentioned but poorly written laws and regulations. Fortunately, we still live in a country where we can make a difference in how we are governed.
Our greatest tool in making a difference is our voice. By speaking out on issues that concern the automotive hobby, contacting our representatives, and working constructively with government officials, we have the power to protect our hobby and keep it safe for future generations. When legislatures are out of session, representatives are in their home districts and typically have more time to meet casually with constituents. They are also planning for the next legislative session, and deciding which bills to introduce. Contacting them can have a tremendous impact by raising their awareness of issues that could impact our hobby. Right now is the perfect time to get involved and build relationships with your legislators, so hit the gas and keep your foot down!
To help get you started, here are 10 tips you can use when contacting legislators:
1. Develop And Maintain Relationships With Your Legislators And Their Staff(s)
Make contact and develop productive relationships with individual legislators. It is the most effective form of grassroots lobbying. It's also important to develop a relationship with their staff who monitor ongoing legislative and community initiatives.
2. Educate Legislators About Our Hobby And Our Issues
Educate your legislator about the hobby and emphasize the positive impact it has on the community.
3. Maintain A Positive Attitude
Develop a positive relationship with your legislator. The next time an enthusiast-related issue comes up, that same legislator may be needed to support your cause.
4. Stay Informed
Keep up-to-date on the legislative issues that affect the hobby in your state. Share this information with fellow enthusiasts.
5. Get Involved In The Community
Join with other community groups to build positive exposure. Holding charity runs and fundraisers provide a great opportunity to show local residents and politicians that auto clubs are a positive community force.
6. Build Relationships With The Local Media
Contact local newspapers and radio/TV stations to publicize car shows, charity events, etc.
7. Invite Officials To Participate In Your Events
Give legislators a platform to reach out to and interact with an audience of constituents.
8. Build An Automotive Coalition
Create coalitions to add strength in numbers and ensure the rights of all auto enthusiasts are represented. Actively participating in regional and statewide councils will develop a unified message to lawmakers. These types of pro-hobbyist groups can be an influential political force.
9. Spread The Word
Take this information to your next club meeting, cruise night, or post it on your favorite online forums. Share this information with other enthusiasts willing to help lobby for the hobby.
10. Register To Vote
Exercise your right to support pro-hobby candidates by voting. Without you and your vote of support, they would not be in office, so make sure you're registered and get out and vote.