How do you change the national perspective of the professional pest control industry in just a few short days? How do you navigate a course to success for an entire industry with just a little care and effort? You can make a difference on important issues and opportunities facing the industry.
One of the best ways that we as an industry can look ahead is to participate at the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA’s) Legislative Day, set for March 16-17 online. (Editor’s Note: Register and learn more at LegislativeDay.npmapestworld.org.)
THE EARLY DAYS
At the first Legislative Day in 1988, a very small group met in Virginia and heard about issues affecting the industry in Washington, D.C., followed by a visit to Capitol Hill to promote the industry. At that time, this was a novel approach to “grassroots” work, to introduce the industry to members of Congress.
In 1989, there was nearly a full bus of attendees going to the Hill. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) spoke to the group that year.
Early attendees set the stage for what is now one of the most important and exciting industry events of the year. While its main purpose is to bring awareness of the industry to members of Congress, Legislative Day has evolved into an event that has something for everyone. From current technical updates to how to speak with legislators, today’s Legislative Day is “the” event to attend if you want to promote the industry.
Learning how to convey positions on issues in Washington will not only give you skills for dealing at the national level; the experience will make you feel more comfortable addressing your local and state elected officials back home. If you are worried you might not be well versed in meetings with people you have only seen in the news, there is no need to worry: Members of Congress were elected by people like you. They want to hear from you more than anyone, and they just want you to speak from the heart.
LET NPMA BE YOUR GUIDE
To help matters, the NPMA will brief you on the issues and talking points so you are comfortable discussing industry positions. This year, the NPMA will set up two Senate visits and one House visit based on the address you provide at registration. The NPMA will set up a Zoom call with Congressional offices, noting that this is how it’s been done by other industry organizations during the pandemic.
Do not be disappointed if you meet with your Senator’s or House member’s staff rather than the actual representative. This year especially will prove to be a grueling schedule for members, and it is possible they will be tied up considering legislation on the chamber floors when you visit. Staffers handle much of the briefing work for representatives. In fact, many Legislative Day attendees prefer to work with staffers, who can better distill our message to their representatives. It is as effective as meeting your member directly.
Regardless where you are from, what your politics are, and what your job is in the company, the NPMA’s Legislative Day is one event you do not want to miss. All members of the House and one-third of the Senate were elected or re-elected this past fall, so this is a perfect time to get involved. The future is ours to make. Despite the virtual format, you’ll be proud you were part of the democratic process carrying the message of the industry to members of Congress — and this will become an essential event for you in the years to come.