Grassroots advocacy by BSCAI members plays a critical role in ensuring that our industry’s priorities are reflected in legislation passed by Congress and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. Below you will find a few tips on how to effectively engage your Members of Congress on these important policy priorities.
Ways to Meet with Your Members of Congress
- Meetings: Request a face-to-face meeting at their Washington, DC or local district office.
- Tour: Invite them to visit your small business.
- Town Hall: Attend a town hall or other local event hosted by the Member.
Ways to Communicate with Your Members of Congress
- Email: Submitting an email through their website is often the easiest and most efficient way to communicate with your Members of Congress.
- Grassroots Portal – BSCAI has officially launched the BSCAI Action Center. This is a easy to use system for BSCAI members to take action on issues that matter.
- Letter: Send a hand-written or typed letter to their DC or district office. Due to security screening, letters generally arrive at the office a few weeks after they are mailed.
- Phone Call: Call their DC or district office and ask to leave a comment. Staff will record your comments and pass them on to the Member. If you do not know your Member’s DC office phone number, you can call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
- Social Media: Leaving a comment on your Member’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page is another easy way to directly engage with lawmakers.
Tips for Meetings with Members of Congress
- Be prepared. Members of Congress respond best when constituents come prepared to the meeting. Constituents who present thoughtful arguments, sound data and relevant personal stories are the ones congressional offices remember.
- Tell a personal story. Members of Congress are always seeking personal anecdotes about the impact Washington is having on their constituents. Be sure to make the connection as to how federal policies are affecting your company, fellow contractors and your community as a whole.
- Use numbers if possible. It’s helpful to quantify the affects policies in Washington are having back in the district and state. Where possible, discuss the amount of jobs, number of constituents or economic impact a policy is having or could have on the community.
- Be respectful. Confronting or arguing with an elected is not an effective method of persuasion. Congressional offices are more likely to respond favorably to you if you are friendly and respectful of their time.
- Go in groups. Your elected representatives are more likely to pay attention to BSCAI’s issues if the contractors they meet with are well-prepared. For groups meeting with lawmakers, it is important that you agree on who will open and close the meeting, as well as any questions you might ask.
- Engage the staff. Typically Members of Congress have someone from their staff attend the meeting. Talk to them about the issues you would like to discuss prior to the meeting, engage them during the meeting and be sure you have their contact information.
- Ask for firm commitments. It is important to make the ask and seek commitment from elected officials.
- Give offices relevant information. Documents passed to staff in the district or state will likely be sent to the legislative aide in Washington.
- Be sure to follow-up. Politely following up is more likely to persuade lawmakers. Congressional staff are often over-worked and respond best to individuals who follow up their meeting with a phone call or email.
- Persistence pays off. If you continue to show your presence and engage lawmakers and their staff throughout the year, they will be more likely to meet with you and discuss the issues you have raised.
BSCAI Policy Priorities – Immigration
Immigration continues to be a hot button topic before the United States Congress and federal agencies, and presents many challenges for those in the building service contracting industry. BSCAI strongly supports efforts to reform America’s immigration system to meet the demands of a competitive global economy.
We believe Congress must work together to pass bipartisan immigration legislation that keeps Americans safe while ensuring employers are able to meet to their labor needs. Federal agencies should also look at regulatory reforms to make the administration of our current immigration programs more efficient and less burdensome for individuals and employers.
- BSCAI supports legislation to provide a pathway to permanent legal status for law-abiding undocumented workers in the United States, subject to meeting certain requirements.
- BSCAI supports legislation to give certainty to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients by providing them a pathway to legal status.
- BSCAI supports creating a robust non-seasonal temporary guest worker program to recruit legal, foreign-born individuals when there is a shortage of domestic workers to fill available positions.
- BSCAI supports existing seasonal and temporary immigration programs such as the H-2B and J-1 visa programs.