Having lived in and around major cities my entire
life, I was never able to fully grasp the scope and true impact of our industry.
Even after I started working at the Auto Care Association, it wasn’t until I
began to visit members and travel on my own time to the rural areas and small
towns where our members operate, that I came to the realization that our industry’s
shops, stores, factories and warehouses could be found in nearly every town, county
and district, no matter how isolated. Plus, in many cases, the auto care industry
offered some of the best jobs in town and those working these jobs tended to be
very much in tune with the happenings of their small communities.
Sure, the national industry stats — the 4.2 million
jobs, $318 billion in sales, 2.2 percent of U.S. GDP, etc. — effectively
illustrate our industry’s immense size and huge positive impact on the U.S.
economy. However, one of our real strengths, from a political influence
perspective, is that you’d be hard-pressed to find a federal or state
legislative district that does not have an auto care business within its
borders. Locating and fully harnessing these potential grassroots resources has
always been our most difficult task, but one that is critical to the future
success of the association’s government affairs agenda.
As you might have guessed, political advocacy in
this country, similar to merchandising and distribution, has reached a point
where data drives everything. It separates the most effective association
government affairs programs from the least effective. Last summer, we began
talking to a small segment of our most active members to get a sense of whether
they could provide value to our grassroots program beyond what they had already
offered. We attempted to gauge to what extent they were (1) politically active and
(2) had relationships with federal or state elected officials. What we found
was that even the members we worked with on a regular basis were more
politically active in their communities than we previously thought or had
relationships with key legislators that we had no idea existed. Our goal from
there was to try to expand our efforts to survey a larger segment of our
membership and provide an easy, quick medium for anyone to share this valuable
information with us.
Therefore, this week, we will be deploying a new survey,
which will serve to provide us with more information on our members than ever before.
The survey, which will be sent out to the entire Auto Care Association
membership, will ask very straightforward, non-intrusive questions including:
- Which issue do you think is currently
the most important facing the auto care industry?
- How active have you been in federal,
state or local politics?
- List any officials with whom you have a
relationship, either directly or through their staff.
Our goal is to ask these important questions so that
when an issue arises and we find that we need to get in touch with a particular
elected official, we are immediately aware of an individual from our industry
who either knows that official personally or who is simply a passionate,
well-connected constituent who wants to help. Please remember that all information provided through the survey will
not be used in any way other than to assist in the Auto Care Association’s
advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill and in the states. We will not leverage your
relationship with a particular legislator beyond a simple reference without
first contacting you.
The survey is 18 questions and is comprised of
mostly simple multiple choice questions. Please contact us at email@example.com
or 240-333-1028 if you have any questions, or if you prefer to provide us with this
information over email or phone.
Thank you in advance
for your participation.