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RESNET Advocacy

WHY ADVOCATE FOR RESNET?

RESNET is launching a public policy advocacy tool kit to help RESNET members engage with their Members of Congress during the 116th Congress.  There are over 100 new Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as a result of the recent mid-term elections, many of whom may be unfamiliar with RESNET and our policy priorities. It is important that we reach out to these new Members to educate them on who we are and what we do so that we can develop champions for our legislative agenda.

Many of these newly elected leaders have indicated an interest in tackling challenging environmental and energy policy issues that have long been neglected due to partisan gridlock. In fact, one of the first actions by the newly Democratic-controlled House was creating the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to examine policies to address climate change, so these issues are sure to be a top agenda item this Congress.

We are asking each RESNET member to consider scheduling a meeting with their Member of Congress at one of their local offices to start building these key relationships. Not all wisdom resides in Washington, DC.  So, don’t feel like you have to find time to travel to the nation’s capital, to make your presence known.  It is often more effective, to begin at the local level, and establish a dialogue with the staff close to your operations. There is likely to be movement on energy and environmental policy this Congress, so we need to make sure that RESNET is a part of the conversation.

Below, we will outline step-by-step how to set up a meeting with your Member of Congress, what to say, and how to follow up. If you have any questions about any part of the process, feel free to reach out to our consultant, Carl Chidlow at carl@wswdc.com.

See below for a step-by-step guide on how to help us advocate!

  1. Find your representative Aren’t sure who your Member of Congress is? Click HERE and type your home zip code into the search bar. It will pull up your Member of Congress and if you click on their name you will be directed to their official website.  and address, and you will be directed to the official website for your Member of Congress.
  2. Find the local district office After you confirm your Member of Congress, use their Congressional website to find their local (district) offices near you.  Most websites have a tab at the top that says “Contact” that will take you to a list of that Member’s offices.
  3.  Submit a meeting request online Under that same “Contact” tab, most offices will have instructions on how to request a meeting. You will have to fill out a short form that includes your name, address, and reason for wanting to meet. Below we have included a draft template that you can use to fill out the formAsk if you can request a meeting, with the District Director, or a Member of the senior policy team.  The District Director is often in charge of constituent service, and charged with keeping their “ear to the ground” on local issues that may impact the re-election.  So it is a good place to start.

DOWNLOAD REPRESENTATIVE DRAFT E-MAIL

RESOURCES
RESNET has developed a series of infographics and factsheets that you should take with you in your meetings to easily explain HERS, RESNET and give legislative initiatives. Simply click on the below link, print out the information piece, and bring them with you to the meeting.

You’ve scheduled a meeting with your representative or one of their staffers, now what? Below are some talking points that can help you have a productive meeting.

Introduce yourself and your company

  • What service does your company provide and why is it important?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • Do you provide any support to local/state governments on energy improvements?
  • How many homes did you service in 2018?
  • Do you work with the local utilities?
  • Estimate your economic impact – purchase of raw materials, salaries, sales, etc.
The ask
  • You would like the Congressman/women to support a Federal incentive that encouraged homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements to their residence. Ask them to cosponsor H.R. XXX
  • Home owners are most likely to make improvements either during the purchase or sale of the property.  That would be an ideal time to create a tax credit or other incentive for efficiency improvements.

Explain the benefits

  • The costs of residential energy use impacts every voter in the district.
  • Making homes energy efficient will mean more disposable income for consumers to spend on local goods.
  • Energy efficient homes benefit local utilities.
  • All jobs created are US jobs, using American made materials.
Before you leave…
  • Invite the Member of Congress to by your offices or visit you on a future job site so they can see the value of your work in person.
  • Offer yourself and RESENT as a resource to the Member of Congress and his or her staff should they have any questions about residential energy efficiency.
  • Thank them for their time and make sure to get the staffer’s business card so you can follow up.

Send a thank you email.

  • After the meeting, send a brief e-mail to the staffer you met with thanking them for their time.  Be sure to provide your contact information, should the Congressional office wish to get back in touch with you regarding scheduling a visit or with specific policy questions.
  • You will notice that many of the staff are skilled at politics, but have a limited understanding of the home building trades.  So keep things simple, and avoid terms that are technical or specific to your industry.
  • End goal is for your Member of Congress to understand how your firm supports local jobs, and makes home ownership more affordable.  In your follow up, please include an electronic copy of RESNET’s most recent policy materials.  These documents will most likely be transmitted to the Capitol Hill office and land on the desk of a subject matter expert.
  • You will be one of many RESNET members making this approach.  And our goal is to have RESNET’s policy priorities in front of as many Capitol Hill staff as possible, over the coming months.
  • RESNET’s most recent policy goals, and supporting materials can be downloaded here

LAST WORDS OF ADVICE…

  • This outreach is important. If we don’t educate them about our work, no one else will. It is important for  policymakers to understand the impact your work has on their constituents, the local economy, and the environment.
  • The point of this exercise is to demonstrate a local impact. Congress will be addressing Federal energy and environmental policy during these upcoming legislative sessions.
  • It only takes one Member of Congress to introduce a bill.  Each meeting counts!