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Legislative Affairs

August 4, 2023

WSW Special Report: The Importance of In-Person Meetings

As reported last week, the US Congress is now in recess. Senators and Members of Congress will be visiting with constituents, touring workplaces, marching in Labor Day parades and participating in numerous civic and cultural events throughout the country. Elected officials actually thrive on the interplay with constituents.

But how can your organization plan for continued engagement, now that our society has reopened following two dreadful years of uncertainty?

Over the past seven months, WSW has facilitated over a dozen advocacy days and events on behalf of clients. Although we have all grown accustomed to Zoom and Teams meetings, the US Congress is now (re)open for business. Just this last month, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was seen high-fiving young school students visiting the US Capitol. The imagery was not coincidental. Republicans took pride in the steps taken to resume normal operations.

Organizations and individuals should be thinking about how to resume normal advocacy operations as well. There is no substitute for face-to-face engagement. One example to share: Earlier in 2023, one of our trade association clients brought their Board of Directors meeting to Washington, DC. Tacked onto the end of the program was an opportunity for Board Members to visit the offices of their Senators and Representatives. As a result, this August, a Member of Congress will be visiting the business of one of those Board Members and touring their workshop. This is a relationship that did not exist in January. But now, due to the interest generated by the meeting, this CEO and Congressperson will be fused at the hip, touring a work site and mixing it up with the employees.

Point being, it is time to begin planning your next advocacy day. Relationships are like gardens – they need to be tended and nurtured. But it is worth every effort and expense. Now that Congressional offices are fully open – forget about Zoom– and do that next meeting in person.

Now is the time to begin conversations with your WSW team lead and start the budgeting and logistics conversation for your 2024 visit to the nation’s Capital. We can’t guarantee a high-five from the Speaker of the House – or that your Member of Congress will be stopping by later this year. But as the saying goes, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always – NO!”

Have a great summer, and we look forward to planning your next visit in the weeks ahead.

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