In less than 90 days, you, your employees, neighbors, vendors, and customers will be asked to go to your local polling center and vote for the next president and vice president of the United States. For ESA and the industry, as well as the business community we represent, this election is very important. The 115th Congress, commencing in January 2017, will face many issues that will impact ESA members and influence your profitability as a business. These issues have the potential to change the products and services you provide your customers, and could impact future sales targets. Several issues the next Congress will address include revisions to the 1996 Telecommunication Law impacting all ESA members and the industry, labor legislation, tax policy, and a host of security related programs with funding decisions to be made at the national level.
US elections do not start in earnest until after Labor Day, September 5th, which positions August as an excellent opportunity to actually meet the candidates and their top campaign officials in the district or state they represent. Aside from shaking hands and introductions, it is important to inform them or their top staff members of two critical things for the industry. First, explain your business and its impact on residential and commercial customers locally by describing the services and protection you provide to citizens so they have an understanding of your business impact. You should also explain that the industry is represented by the Electronic Security Association (ESA) on a national level and works with other allied groups and companies back in Washington, D.C. so they can be aware of our interests in 2017. Second, and most importantly, try to provide a high level overview of how your business works with customers--explain alarm or monitoring systems, battery backup, changes happening to the industry with copper retirement and wireless and that any changes to the telecom act needs to consider a fair playing field for ESA members. All too often, Congressional members and staff are visited by very large collective groups explaining broadband or other concepts but there is a need to highlight the electronic security industry as it relates to the telecom act and how we protect American citizens.
Offer the candidates a tour of your business and present some issues that concern you. Tell them that ESA will be conducting a "Day on Capitol Hill" in May 2017 and, if they are elected, you would like their support of our industry positions. Ask them to keep their office and staff open to your requests to help protect our citizens and to support your business operations at the district and state levels.
The 2016 cycle of national elections features the highly publicized presidential race; however, it is the election for the US Congress, including the US Senate and US House of Representatives that is of great importance to our future. In the US Senate, 34 seats out of 100 are up for election and with 54 out of 100 now under GOP (Republican) majority, Democrats are trying to increase their status to 51 votes to take control and change the Senate direction. For ESA members who do business in the following states, their Senate incumbent is retiring or the race is competitive, meaning there will be new candidates for US Senate and a more intense campaign that will bring opportunities for interaction with the campaign staff and candidates: Maryland, California, Indiana, Nevada, Louisiana, Colorado, Missouri and North Carolina. If you have a US Senate race not listed, ESA encourages you to still seek to influence these candidates for the betterment of the electronic security industry.
The US House races include ALL 435 districts. Currently, the GOP controls 247 (218 is a majority) compared with 188 for the Democrats whose battle is focused on securing 30 seats to take control of the House (which will be very difficult to achieve according to analysts reviewing each district). For purposes of this article, I will list those open districts in which the incumbent is retiring or running for a new office which means there will be a new House member in 2017.If you are a constituent in one of these 39 districts, make it a priority to meet the candidates and, after November 8th, the newly elected Congressperson. Of course, every ESA member should engage with every House candidate and review their background, staff contacts on the internet or by request to my office we can provide contact information for you. These districts are as follows: FL Districts 1-2,4,9,11,18-19, MI Districts 1, 10, NY Districts 3,13,19,22, WY, KY District 1, WA District 7, MN District 2, PA Districts 8,16, CA Districts 20,24,46, GA District 3, HI District 1, AZ Districts 1,5, TX Districts 15,19, VA District 2,4-5, WI District 8, MD Districts 4,8, NV District 3, IN Districts 3, 9, and IL District 8.
Remember that voting is a very important right of all citizens that should be encouraged. ESA supports your reaching out to the candidates in the remaining 90+ days until the November 8th election and positioning yourself and your business to engage with the new 115th Congress from November 9th on.
For further information, review your state or district candidates online or contact John Chwat, ESA Director of Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org