Advocacy: How to Reach Legislators from Home
The Solar Energy Industries Association is working hard to represent the industry from our Washington, DC headquarters. We have experts and professional advocates working to influence federal policy, however, when it comes to making a more personal impact with legislators, the power of grassroots advocacy cannot be underestimated. Congress needs to be reminded that the solar industry provides jobs and energy security in their states and districts.
SEIA can help you with all of these options, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our federal affairs staff for assistance.
Follow up AFTER the meeting
Participants should always send thank you letters after a meeting, especially if the official was specifically asked to do something. The key is to foster an ongoing relationship. If you had a good meeting with the official, you can invite him or her to visit your site/facility. Keeping your legislator involved and informed about your company is the best way to create a strong and personal relationship that will help the association and solar industry overall.
Set up an in-district meeting
It is possible to meet with most officials, but occasionally their schedules are not flexible and a staff person will have to take the meeting. Visiting with staff can still be extremely useful. Often the staff person will have more technical knowledge about an issue than the official. The official may rely on that staffer to assist in making decisions about legislation.
Set up a facility tour/visit
A great way to build a relationship with your elected official and demonstrate how important your company, and the solar industry, is to the community is to invite them to visit your company headquarters. Tours at your facility or a new project site provides a great opportunity for your legislator to meet your employees and to discuss your company’s issues and concerns in depth. By seeing the operations first-hand, your legislator will also have a better understanding of how certain legislative and regulatory proposals may impact our industry and effect potential job growth in their district/state.
Most elected officials will be receptive, and recognize your invite as a valuable opportunity to meet their constituents (potential voters) in a friendly environment.