GRASSROOTS LOBBYING - YOU ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE TOOL AT THE CAPITOL
By Melissa Kuipers, Vice President of Government Relations & Communications

It's a safe bet that nearly every Colorado legislator has at least one automobile dealership in their legislative district. Some even have as many as 10 or more.  There are only 65 members of the House of Representatives and 35 members of the Senate, for a total of 100 members of the General Assembly.  Since there are 270 automobile dealerships in the state, not only is it a safe bet that nearly every legislator has an automobile dealership in their district, but they likely know each of you by name. 

Automobile dealers are fabulous assets to their respective communities. You sponsor little league teams.  You buy t-shirts for the high school basketball team.  You invest in your employees and give them careers, not just jobs.  You donate to local police departments when they need vehicles.  You take care of your customers and their families year after year.  Your collective charitable contributions were over $6.1 million in 2007 in the state of Colorado alone.

As members of CADA, you have a huge advantage over other associations that may have large amounts of members, but they may only be concentrated in specific urban or rural areas in Colorado.  The fact that we have auto dealers throughout Colorado gives us a huge advantage at the Capitol and provides us with enormous political capital for dealer issues.

While all of these facts are good and politically beneficial, they are not effective until they are activated.  While legislators know you exist and generally know what you do for your community, they still need to hear from you personally.  One of the most critical assets to our lobbying efforts comes from you when we are in the trenches trying to pass legislation that benefits you or defeat legislation that is potentially harmful.  Grassroots lobbying, as these kinds of efforts are commonly called, is the crux of an association's success.  Legislators at the Capitol hear from me and your lobby team every day during Session which is certainly beneficial to our collective political efforts.  But,
when Legislators hear from you, especially during the non-session months of June through December, the impact is simply astounding. 

This summer, after the successful passage of SB09-091 (the CADA Franchise bill), will be an excellent opportunity to not only thank the many legislators who supported our bill, but also a chance to talk about future issues, including the importance of dealers remaining closed on Sundays.  Additionally, the summer of 2009 is not considered a campaign year since the majority of elections are in 2010, which means legislators are generally more relaxed and have more time to devote to constituent issues.  This summer presents a huge opportunity for CADA members to meet with legislators on dealer issues, especially given the current state of the automotive industry in Colorado and nationally.

Your involvement is crucial to our success and we appreciate all that you do!  We are currently planning several legislative meetings across the state, so please watch your Open Road and your fax machine for upcoming events.  Together we will continue to achieve great things!

 

Colorado Automobile Dealers Association
 290 East Speer Boulevard Denver, CO  80203
 Telephone:  303.831.1722  |  Facsimile: 303.831.4205
 www.cadaonline.org