All politics are local. The effectiveness of the Association and its Legislative efforts directly relates and hinges upon the ability of members to connect to elected officials first and foremost in the district from which they are elected. If the elected official does not know you, the Association member, at the home front level (on the street); effectiveness of the Association has already greatly diminished. All politics is local – every firefighter must get to know on a first name basis their elected officials. The Association’s role can be to facilitate this, help the members be more comfortable in that role, and even broker conversations – but all politics is local. It starts with you. City Council, County Council, Boards and Commissions, State Politicians, Federal politicians. Get busy with making contacts now.
To do that initial contact, you do not need nor really should have a major issue pending. Just say hello, just say I am here, interested, and willing to engage. That begins the relationship. Then, when the issue is more severe or larger; your relationship and trust and communication already exists.
What have you done, recently, to foster this relationship building?