Engage Politicians Before Midterm Elections

With 435 members of Congress and 36 senators are up for re-election now is the perfect time to engage with politicians, writes Tom Buis. There are many ways to make your voice heard.
By Tom Buis | August 15, 2014

In November, all 435 members of Congress and 36 senators are up for re-election. You have undoubtedly seen the ads and received the mailings, postcards and phone calls. As overwhelming and often intrusive as all of these political campaigns can be, they also remind us of what politicians care about most this time of year. You, the voter. This presents us with a unique opportunity to join together to shape candidates’ legislative priorities and build a coalition of ethanol champions in Congress.

As congressional candidates tour their districts asking for your vote, make sure you engage them and ask for their support on the issues you care about. Ask them where they stand on the renewable fuel standard. Ask them how they plan to support homegrown renewable fuels that create jobs, reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and improve our environment. Ask them to advocate for consumer choice and savings at the pump. And, most importantly, let them know that if they will not commit to supporting our industry, you will not support them in their election or re-election efforts.

For lack of a better term, these candidates are “on the ropes,” looking to secure votes and to let their constituents know that they can and will continue to deliver for their home districts. But in order for them to deliver on renewable fuels, you must make your voice heard. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a particularly “political” person, remember that this fight is personal. Stand up, express your concerns and request support for the policies that impact your job, your livelihood and the economic and energy security of this nation. Your voice, your story and your support can go further than you might imagine. Consider doing the following:
1. Attend a town hall meeting and ask a question.
2. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
3. Send an email to a Congressional candidate.
4. Spread the message on social media.
5. Make a phone call.
6. Set up a meeting and share your concerns in person.
7. Gather your fellow coworkers and colleagues in the ethanol industry and request a group meeting with all of the candidates from your district to discuss renewable fuels and where they stand on the issue. Make them face multiple voters and go on the record.
8. Host a meet-and-greet or a fundraiser for a candidate who is a steadfast supporter of our industry.
9. Donate to a candidate you know will represent the interests of the renewable fuels industry.

Once you’ve started the discussion, keep it going. Reach out to your friends, family and community. Inspire and empower people to become involved in the fight and make their voices heard as well. Consumers, farmers, plant employees, investors, vendors and community leaders all have great reasons to advocate for the renewable fuels industry.

The importance of grassroots political activities like those listed above are immeasurable. Grassroots involvement takes the power away from Big Oil and their allies and places it in the hands of hardworking Americans who are taking action across the country. Politicians cannot ignore their voting constituents, especially at this critical time of year. The strength of our industry’s voice at the local, state and national levels depends on you and your efforts. We have the numbers on our side, and it’s time to rally the troops.

There’s a lot at stake in this battle, the future of our rural communities, nearly 400,000 American jobs that will never be outsourced, the quality of the air we breathe, the ability to chose at the pump and the energy security and national security of this great nation. We are fortunate to be involved in an industry that’s doing a lot of good for a lot of people. Let’s step up to the plate together, defend what we’ve grown and win this fight.

Author: Tom Buis
CEO, Growth Energy
[email protected]