Lobby for your rights!
"We the people of the United States" are not just words from the first line of an old document. We are the people who love baggers, choppers, diggers, rat bikes, antiques, muscle cars, hot rods, street rods, tuners, replicas, off road trucks, and many other varieties of automotive pursuits that are as diverse as the country in which we live. We are also the people who have to work to protect our motorized passions from unnecessary, unfair, or well intentioned but poorly written laws and regulations. Fortunately, we the people live in a country where we can still make a difference in how we are governed.
Our greatest tool in making that difference is our voice. By speaking out on issues that concern our interests, contacting our representatives, and working constructively with government officials, we have the power to protect our passion and keep it safe for future generations of moto and auto hobbyists and enthusiasts. When legislatures are out of session, representatives are in their home districts and typically have more time to meet casually with their constituents. They are also planning for the next legislative session and deciding which bills to introduce. Contacting them now can have a tremendous impact by raising their awareness of issues that could impact our lifestyle and hobby during the next session. That is what makes right now the perfect time to get involved and build relationships with your legislators, so hit the starter and twist the throttle!
To get you started, here are 10 tips you can use when contacting your representatives:
1. Develop and Maintain Relationships with Your Legislators and Their Staff
Make contact and develop productive relationships with individual legislators. It is the most effective form of grassroots lobbying. It's also important to develop a relationship with their staff who monitor ongoing legislative and community initiatives.
2. Educate Legislators About Our Hobby and Our Issues
Educate your legislator about motorcycling and emphasize the positive impact it has on the community.
3. Maintain a Positive Attitude
Develop a positive relationship with your legislator. The next time an enthusiast-related issue comes up, that same legislator may be needed to support your cause.
4. Stay Informed
Keep up-to-date on the legislative issues that affect the hobby in your state. Share this information with fellow enthusiasts.
5. Get Involved in the Community
Join with other community groups to build positive exposure. Holding charity runs and fundraisers provide a great opportunity to show local residents and politicians that auto clubs are a positive community force.
6. Build Relationships with the Local Media
Contact local newspapers and radio/TV stations to publicize bike and car shows, charity events, etc.
7. Invite Officials to Participate in Your Events
Give legislators a platform to reach an audience of constituents.
8. Build an Automotive Coalition
Create coalitions to add strength in numbers and ensure that the rights of all vehicle enthusiasts are represented. Actively participating in regional and statewide councils will develop a unified message to lawmakers. These types of pro-hobbyist groups can be an influential political force.
9. Spread the Word
Take this information to your next club meeting, bike night or post it on your online forums. Share this information with other enthusiasts who are willing to help lobby for the hobby.
10. Register to Vote
Exercise your right to support pro-moto and pro-auto candidates. Constituents are an elected official's number-one priority. Without you and your vote of support, they would not be in office, so make sure you're registered and get out and vote.