With the largest turnover of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1948, the incoming class of the 112th Congress will have the largest number of freshman members in more than 60 years. Due to this high level of turnover, MHI needs assistance from state associations in building relations with new members of the House and Senate.
Specifically, MHI members that have developed relationships with incoming freshman (or existing) Members of Congress or key contacts within their campaigns are asked to contact MHI’s government relations staff.
It can take months or years to establish credibility with new members of Congress and any pre-existing relationships state associations or individual members may have with incoming Representatives or Senators will greatly assist MHI in building a reliable core of key industry supporters during the upcoming Congress.
If you have not developed contacts and would like assistance doing so, below are some tools that can be employed to build credibility and relations with your new (and existing) Members of Congress.
- Site Tour: Take the member and their staff on a tour of a manufactured or modular housing facility, or community—a site tour provides a tangible and visual reference of the industry’s economic and community impact in the region— if appropriate, members of the local media can be invited to tag along—with the campaign over, most media outlets are seeking story leads and opportunities to profile new Members of Congress. Remember: while the 2010 elections are over; the 2012 campaign has now officially begun.
- Meet and Greet: Schedule a low key event that includes key business and industry leaders and local elected officials. Have it serve as an opportunity for newly elected officials to be introduced to the manufactured industry on a one-on-one basis. Remember to take pictures and highlight the visit in future newsletters and publications. The follow up work to the visit is just as important as the actual event.
- Meeting Participation: Invite the member and their staff to visit your office or attend a member meeting. During the visit, ask industry and business leaders to give a brief overview of the benefits and impact of their companies and the industry’s importance to the region. If appropriate, invite local customers, clients or community residents to participate in the presentation. Note: having community resident participation in your event provides a powerful message that industry and consumers are united on specific issues.
- Serve as an Information Resource: Provide timely, factual and concise information. For new Members of Congress, it will take significant amounts of time and research to develop stances on issues of key concern to the industry. Make their job easier by providing useful information about the local impact national issues will have on the local economy and business climate (i.e., Dodd-Frank, GSE reform, tax, energy, etc). If you are working on a complex issue that requires a six-page brief be sure to attach a one-page executive summary. Keep information concise and double check for accuracy. Note: MHI staff is in the process of developing a revised series of fact sheets on critical issues that can be used as resource material for new members.
- Congressional Manufactured Housing Caucus: Urge your Member of Congress to join the Congressional Manufactured Housing Caucus. With a number of issues of key concern to the industry expecting to receive consideration during the 112th Congress (housing finance/GSE reform and Dodd-Frank implementation and technical corrections legislation), the caucus can serve as a collective voice on behalf of the manufactured housing community.
- Learn: About the member’s potential committee assignments, policy interests and background so that you can better gauge their position and influence on issues important to the industry. Lawmakers tend to have more knowledge and control over issues related to their committee assignments and more enthusiasm when they know an issue has significant local impact.
Please contact MHI Vice President of Government Affairs Jason Boehlert at 703-558-0660 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to provide feedback on new Members of Congress. In addition, please share any other ideas building relations with new Members of Congress.