take action

GA-icon-400pxGovernment relations are a critical part of business. The NAHFA works diligently with its Washington, D.C. counsel, the Government Relations Action Team (GRAT), and other industry organizations to gather legislative information, study its impact, and share the results. The next step is up to you. You are the constituent, the business owner, the voice your legislator wants to hear. We can give you the talking points. You have to do the talking.

 

Who Are My Legislators?

If you aren’t sure who your legislators are, you can locate your representatives at www.house.gov and your senators at www.senate.gov by typing in your address (make sure to use your business address).

Phone calls and face-to face meetings are the most effective way to communicate with your legislators, followed by faxes, and emails.

Make the Call

Calling your representatives and senators is one of the most effective ways to voice your opinion, share your concerns about legislation impacting the home furnishings industry, and start building a relationship with your legislator.

Helpful numbers and links:

Congressional Switchboard: 202-225-3121
Senate Switchboard: 202-224-3121
Senate Phone List (PDF)
Congressional Phone List and Committee Assignments

Tips:

  • Identify yourself as a constituent and a business owner and ask to speak to the Representative or Senator.
  • If you cannot connect with them directly, ask to speak to a staff person with responsibility for business or the issue you’re calling about.
  • Be prepared—have your talking points ready. Need help with talking points on an issue? Contact us. Share how the issue or proposed legislation will or has affected your business/community in particular.
  • Be succinct—state your concern, give your credentials as an expert in the industry, ask for his/her support/vote, thank them.

Please let us know if you’ve had success in calling your legislators so we can track our collective efforts.

Put it in Writing

The pen is still a mighty communication tool. If you can’t reach your legislator or the appropriate staff member or if you needed more time to voice your concerns fax or email them—avoid sending letters through the mail as it takes four-six weeks to land on a legislator’s desk.

Once you’ve located your representative or your senators you can find their fax numbers and/or email on their websites. Many of these sites have fill-in-the-blank email forms (rather than direct email address).

Tips for Faxes:

  • Send correspondence on your company letterhead.
  • Always identify yourself as a constituent and business owner and include your ZIP +4 code.
  • Be succinct—state your concern, give your credentials as an expert in the industry, ask for his/her support/vote, thank them.
  • Share how the issue or proposed legislation will or has affected your business/community in particular. If you need talking points on a particular issue, contact us (insert link to my email address).

Please share copies of your correspondence with the NAHFA so we can track our collective efforts.

Tips for Emails:

  • Many legislators have fill-in-the-blank email forms on their websites. If you use these forms be sure to identify yourself as a constituent and business owner.
  • If you have access to an email address rather than a form, be aware that any attachments could get stripped out by email filters and not reach the recipient. It’s best to convey your message in the body of the email.
  • Be succinct—state your concern, give your credentials as an expert in the industry, ask for his/her support/vote, thank them.
  • Share how the issue or proposed legislation will or has affected your business/community in particular. If you need talking points on a particular issue, contact us (insert link to my email address).

Please share copies of your correspondence with the NAHFA so we can track our collective efforts.

The Government Relations Action Team

The NAHFA Government Relations Action Team (GRAT) is comprised of volunteer Association members, our legal counsel, and our government relations liaison. The GRAT’s mission is to outline the key legislative issues that are important to home furnishings retailers and to encourage fellow members to get involved. The Team targets key issues—such as the Marketplace Fairness Act for sales tax collection, interchange fees on bankcard processing, EPA regulations, furniture flammability regulations, Department of Transportation regulations, healthcare reform, tax reform, and much, much more. The GRAT is open to any member who has a passion for and understands the importance of government relations and how it impacts your business.

Current GRAT members: Wogie Badcock, Badcock & More, FL; Eric Blackledge, Blackledge Furniture, OR; Tom Olinde, Olinde’s Furniture, LA; Paul Sanford, CA; and Sherry Sheely, Sheely’s Furniture & Appliance, OH.

Are you a NAHFA member interested in getting more involved or joining the GRAT? Email our government relations liaison for more information.