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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Why should I get involved in government relations?
Because you can influence a lawmaker on issues that have a significant impact on your business! As a constituent in your elected representative’s district, you have the right to express your opinion. As an employer in that district, you also have leverage.

DHI works to educate lawmakers about the importance of our industry and to advance our industry’s perspective on key issues affecting door and hardware distributors. Your voice brings the message “home” on how government actions are affecting your business and your community - the very people your elected representatives serve. DHI is here to help you make that connection and empower you in Washington.

What kind of a time commitment is involved in being part of DHI’s Grass Roots Network?
It takes as little as 15 minutes to respond to a DHI Action Alert by adding your personal story to a DHI sample letter and forwarding it to your elected officials. Whether it’s writing a note to your congressman or coming to Capitol Hill for a meeting, you decide how much time you want to invest. Your voice - combined with those of other DHI manufacturers and distributors - can have a tremendous impact.

Will legislators really listen to me?
YES! Elected officials see you as an expert in your business and appreciate your input. While some may differ with you on a given issue, you have a right as a constituent to express your concerns. Your input on how legislation will impact your business can change a vote on the House or Senate floor!

TIPS ON GETTING INVOLVED

Top 5 Ways to Build a Relationship with Your Legislator:

Why is it important to build personal relationships with your legislators? For the same reasons you work to build personal relationships with your customers and your other business partners. As is often the case in business, the legislative process can be centered on relationships. Fair or unfair, certain issues and people get more attention from elected officials than others.

The goal of relationship building is to keep your name and your company in front of your legislators. Ultimately, it’s not just to ask for special consideration, but to be a resource to the legislator when decisions have to be made. As an employer in your community, your lawmaker will welcome your interest. You and your legislators share a mutual desire to strengthen and build your community.

DHI has identified 5 effective and easy ways for you to build personal relationships with your legislators. A personal relationship with your legislators can benefit you both in your community and in your business.

1. Visit your lawmakers at home - Lawmakers spend a significant amount of time working out of their district offices. During a congressional recess (when legislators are home), make appointments to meet with your federal legislators. Share with them what’s going on in your business. Contact DHI’s Government Relations department for a copy of the congressional recess schedule.

2. Attend a Town Hall meeting - Lawmakers often host “town hall” meetings in their districts to tout their achievements and solicit feedback from constituents. These meetings are a prime opportunity to voice your concerns about issues affecting the industry in an open and public forum.

3. Invite your legislators to your company - Invite your legislators to attend a company-sponsored event including chapter meetings, employee recognition days, or any other special events hosted by your company. Offer to give your guest a tour of your facility.

4. Invite your legislators to attend events away from your business - Charity events in which you or your company are active provide a setting where it's not just about your business, but about your community. Be sure to seat your legislators at your table.

5. Work with others in your community - Partner with other community business leaders or members of your local DHI Chapters to host a ‘Meet and Greet’ with your legislators.

Host a Facility Tour

Our efforts in Washington are most effective when legislators recognize that we are speaking for employers in their state or district. Hosting a facility tour at your business is a great way to build a personal relationship with your lawmakers and it helps them to understand the impact that their actions have on your business and your employees.

The DHI Government Relations department will be happy to work with you to arrange a visit by your elected federal representatives including contacting your legislator, finding a suitable time, and helping you plan an agenda for the visit. Investing the hour it takes to host an event will pay dividends in helping you to build relationships with officials who can have an impact on your business. If you are interested in hosting a facility tour with one or more of your lawmakers, contact Cathy Jones or by phone at (703) 222-2010.

TIPS ON WRITING TO ELECTED OFFICIALS

Writing a letter to your representative is a great way to make your voice heard, if done correctly. For helpful tips on making your letter more effective, visit:

How to write letters to Elected Officials

Find Your Elected Official