Show and Tell
Invite Your Congressperson for a Summer
by Michael O’Brien
Members of the Window and Door Manufacturers (WDMA) Association
converged on Washington, D.C., this March to introduce themselves to the
100 newly elected members of Congress and share their first-hand perspectives
on issues impacting the industry (see related article on page
Extend the Invitation
If you were unable to join us in Washington this spring—or if you wish
to continue the dialog with your representative—we encourage you to invite
your congressional member for a plant tour this summer. Congress takes
several breaks over the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays and
a longer break for most of August. This is an ideal time to invite them
to visit your facilities and see firsthand how the economy is affecting
your business and your ability to create jobs in their communities.
If you’ve never hosted a legislator before, let us assure you that they
welcome the invitation to meet with their constituents. We can provide
a plant tour tool kit to walk you through the steps.
Constituent Communication Makes the Most Impact
While WDMA is making inroads on Capitol Hill in our outreach to key committee
members, communication directly from their constituents back home reinforces
our staff efforts and builds stronger relationships with the legislators
whose support we will need when our key issues come up for a vote. The
House Energy and Commerce Committee is of particular interest to our industry,
and has 12 new Republican members in the 112th Congress, half of whom
are freshmen members of Congress (see box below).
Energy and Commerce Committee is of particular interest to our industry,
and has 12 new Republican members in the 112th Congress,
half of whom are freshmen members of Congress."
The first step to set up a successful plant visit is to send an invitation
as soon as possible. Visit the Congressional directory at http://capwiz.com/wdma
to find district office information for your representative and/or senators.
Send an invitation to their scheduler, offering multiple dates if possible.
Members of Congress will be home the following dates: May 16-20, June
6-10, June 27-July 5, July 18-22, and August 8-September 6. (Note that
the Senate is on a different schedule, but Senators also will be in their
home states August 8-September 6.)
Once a date has been confirmed, contact WDMA for an update on key policy
issues to raise during your tour. We can provide issue briefs for you
to review and share, but the important thing is to share the story of
your company and the challenges you’re facing. A conversation about energy
efficiency tax credits is all the more powerful if you can show the products
to your legislators. If possible, schedule the tour with enough time to
allow your Congressperson to speak to employees and answer questions.
Be sure to take pictures and work with the legislator’s office to send
a press release to your local media. Congressional plant tours are great
opportunities to generate positive press for both the legislator and your
Engaging legislators on the issues impacting door, window and skylight
manufacturers is critical to ensuring Congress acts in a way that will
help, not hinder, our housing recovery and economic growth.
Are These Your Congressional Representatives?
The WDMA can particularly use your assistance in making contact with the
following freshman congressional representatives: Rep. Brian Bilbray (Calif.-50th),
Rep. Charlie Bass (N.H.-2nd), Rep. Gregg Harper (Miss.-3rd), Rep. Leonard
Lance (N.J.-7th), Rep. Bill Cassidy (La.-6th), Rep. Brett Guthrie (Ky.-2nd),
Rep. Pete Olson (Texas-22nd), Rep. David McKinley (W.Va.-1st), Rep. Cory
Gardner (Colo.-4th), Rep. Mike Pompeo (Kan.-4th), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.-11th)
and Rep. Morgan Griffith (Va.-9th).
Likewise, the following new members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee need to hear from manufacturers in their states: Sen. Al Franken
(D-Minn.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sen. Mike
Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Sen. Rob
Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
Michael O’Brien serves as president of the Window and Door Manufacturers
Association. His opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect
those of this magazine.
© Copyright 2011 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.