Editor's Note: This column is reprinted from the March editions of Oklahoma Builder Magazine
By Mike Means
Executive Vice President, OSHBA
A firestorm happened many years ago when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton published a book using an African proverb as a way to raise children. Clinton said, "It takes a village to raise a child."
Conservatives were worried the interference of government in the raising of their children would expand. Liberals countered with the call for more funding of early childhood education. It was amusing for politicos observing the political dialogue. I will pass on making any comment.
However, the proverb came to mind when thinking about the opening days of the legislative session.
Just as one Representative or one Senator cannot pass legislation without the assistance of many others, so too a lobbyist cannot affect the outcome of legislation without the assistance of others. By that I mean it takes the collective effort of the lobbyist coupled with the interest and involvement of association members to have a legitimate effort of passing or stopping legislation affecting the industry.
The main buzz around the Capitol, and sure to continue for weeks, is the budget situation,There will be bills affecting the future of tax credits and it will take a collective effort to ensure a positive outcome.
So, once again, I want to raise awareness how vital it is that you respond to our electronic "calls to action" when you receive them via email.
I share a story that I have shared before, but it is critical in understanding the role each of you play as a member of our association.
You are a valued member and your voice is important.
Here is the story. A few years ago during one of our association's Capitol Days, we stopped to visit a state senator. He shared that when a lobbyist discusses an idea, it raises his awareness. But when a constituent discusses an idea, it catches his attention. If a constituent doesn't contact him on a particular bill, he figures it doesn't matter to his district so he is free to vote his personal values. But if a constituent contacts him, then he is going to vote according to the values of his district.
I share that to once again tell you how important you are. You see, it does take a village to affect legislation. As part of the home builder village, take time to help your industry.