By Bob Ogle
It’s a golden opportunity whenever ESA members can get
together in a beautiful city to network and socialize with colleagues from
around the country, and learn more about the issues that face their businesses
as well as our entire industry. And it’s a bonus when they get a chance to make
their views known to their elected representatives.
That’s what ESA’s Day on Capitol Hill is all about. This
year, the event will take place on Monday and Tuesday, April 28 and 29, in
Washington, D.C. Headquarters will be the elegant and historic Omni Shoreham
hotel. It’s a true Washington landmark – having played host to world leaders,
inaugural balls and other political events – in a beautiful setting overlooking
Rock Creek National Park.
open on ESA’s website at www.ESAweb.org/DOCH2014. Registration is free for members until April 11, with a fee of
$100 for non-members and members who register after April 11.
Day on Capitol Hill represents the best opportunity for our
members to be heard directly by elected officials on issues that are important
to our industry. Our members put a real-life face on the issues, and make it
clear to Congress that the electronic life safety industry plays a crucial role
in the security of our citizens.
Strength in numbers
The event’s success depends on participation from as many
members as possible. When large numbers of members turn out, it reminds our
elected officials that ESA represents a large number of companies who employ an
even larger group of people. ESA is the only association representing our
industry – no one else is out there to carry your message to your legislators.
Participants receive an updated congressional directory for
all 535 members of Congress with contact information on their elected
officials, not only for D.C., but for their local offices as well.
Meetings with congressional offices are already set up
before delegates arrive, either with officials who are local to their
respective regions or crucial to legislation the association is trying to move
Talking points and issue briefs to assist with the visits
are available beforehand so delegates can become familiar with issues. To
participate, all delegates need to do is show up and wear comfortable walking
The bigger picture
But there’s a greater benefit than just communicating with
elected officials. It’s also learning more about the issues that affect the
industry, and understanding the impact that laws and regulations can have on
our members’ businesses.
"The electronic security industry is a known industry to
most members of Congress,” said ESA Government Relations Director John Chwat. "The
face-to-face meetings during Day on Capitol Hill are an unparalleled chance to
educate and inform lawmakers. But ESA members also return home with a better
understanding of ESA’s advocacy efforts and the political process as a whole.
They also become a resource to other members with their knowledge of issues
facing the association.”
More than 73 delegates from 21 states participated in last
year’s event, visiting 96 House offices and 33 Senate offices. ESA member Lynn
Comer, chair of the Government Relations committee, said she’s confident those
numbers will continue to grow this year.
"I know this is a huge sacrifice that takes our members away
from their businesses,” she said, "but it’s also an investment. It’s one I hold
very dearly myself, because it’s not only about representing our industry and
our association. For me personally, I feel very connected to our government
when I’m here. I think that’s a really important piece that everyone who
attends can take home with them.”
More information is available at www.ESAweb.org/DOCH2014, or by
contacting ESA Events Manager Melissa Unger at (972) 807-6807.