Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2008 - (Page 8)

Relationships are Key FROM THE PRESIDENT BY FRED SHELDON, NRWA PRESIDENT THE KEY TO our legislative efforts is not the numbers or the dollar figures, despite the fact that those are defi nitely on our side. The real advantage our associations have is the relationships they can create with their elected officials. How do we build those relationships? It’s not difficult, especially because our organizations are fi lled with friendly, dedicated and hard-working professionals, but creating relationships in Washington requires a certain process, certain details. First, it’s key to remember that these legislators represent the citizens of a certain area. Members of the Senate represent a state as a whole, while Representatives are elected from districts within the state. These Representatives are more likely to respond to information and stories pertaining to their own districts. Any documentation should reflect the geographic ties of the representatives. Representatives may show interest in the benefits the association provides throughout the state, but will show greater interest in stories and information pertaining to his or her district. Second, relationships are built on personal stories. A list of assistance visits can be a persuasive tool, but associations can create a stronger connection with a citizen telling about how rural water was there when their utility needed help. Associations should identify key people with stories to tell. If the association has worked with their legislators previously, they should include new individuals that can tell a good, compelling story. Letters of appreciation from district systems can also be used to tell a personal story. Third, remember the pace and schedule required working in Washington. Associations should be punctual to all scheduled meetings. Legislative schedules are fi lled with votes and meetings, and this means that meetings may be changed or may be with staffers instead of the elected official. This is all normal. Lastly, remember that relationships aren’t built with a single visit. Senate and House members will have offices in their home state or district, which provides a close-to-home opportunity to tell the rural water story. Including these officials in rural water activities can also help build the relationship. For example, invite representatives to meetings, Water Days or rural water tours. Using these opportunities can allow rural water to present its story throughout the year. The real advantage our associations they can create with their elected officials. How do we build those relationships? have is the relationships 8 • Fourth Quarter 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2008

Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2008
From the President
Rural Water: Where are We Headed?
The Future of Water in America
Bank Collateral Controls in Nervous Times
Bottle of Water or Billion Dollar Bully?
Aqua Chocolate No Mas
Why Even Small Water Systems Should Have Personnel Policy Manuals
Safe Drinking Water
Regulatory Update
2008 NRWA Industry Event
Throwing My Loop
Index to Advertisers
From the CEO

Rural Water - Quarter 4, 2008