Influencing Public Policy
The Grawe Gazette – General Counsel
Influencing Public Policy & the new Grawe Pod
By The Grawe Group, LLC, April 2021
We have a podcast – The Grawe Pod!
In some of our newsletters recently, we have talked about legislation and rulemaking going on right now impacting the transportation industry. In our first podcast episode we offer practical insights into how you can engage in the policymaking process. We all know our industry is heavily regulated as it is. And it feels like we are constantly being peppered with new rules and laws that impact our businesses.
How can each of us push back against the barrage, or shape laws to be more practical?
- Tell your story
- Speak their language
- Adjust to the circumstances
- Choose your battles
Tell Your Story
- Policymakers want to know about you. It may be hard to believe, but they do. They want to know about your business, how you help serve a customer need, the good jobs you offer, the investments you make in people, safety, the economy, and the community. If you are a family-owned business, play it up. If you are one of the largest employers in town, play it up. If you offer good pay and benefits, play it up. If you are engaged in the community, play it up. Show them you are one of the good businesses they should care about helping.
- We are so invested in our businesses we forget policymakers do not often understand a lot about our industry and our businesses. They do not know how much it costs to buy a new truck. They do not know how the FMCSRs govern every facet of a driver’s work life. They do not know logistics is one of the best industries for entrepreneurs today. They do not always know how a proposed law helps or hurts your business. Approach it as a teacher educating a student.
Speak Their Language
- Find out what matters to them and tailor your message. If you know your local representative is very active on environmental issues, talk up the investments you have made in newer, cleaner trucks, and the improvements you have made in MPG. If you know your senator is big on small business, talk up your owner operator program and its success stories.
Adjust to the Circumstances
- What you say and how you say it depends on the engagement with the policymaker. Are you writing a letter to an agency administrator you have never met? Are you meeting with your representative at their office? Are you hosting a governor at your office? Are you sending an email to your representative because your trade association just put out a call to action? Each situation calls for different levels of details, different tones, different asks, and so on.
Choose Your Battles
- We must be mindful of how often and on what issues we engage in policymaking because we each only have so much political capital. Send an email to your senator about every issue under the sun and your voice loses weight quickly. Cry wolf about legislation that has a minor impact on your business and representatives may not take your comments as seriously on more consequential laws. Speak up – the laws are made by those that do but focus on the issues that impact you or your world the most.
Making policymakers care about your business with a thoughtful narrative, educating them about a law’s real impact (not hyperbole), showing them how your position supports what they care about, and spending your political capital wisely will give your voice greater weight in the policymaking process.
We go into more depth on the policymaking process, how you can influence it, the role of political contributions, and more in our new podcast, The Grawe Pod. We are starting The Grawe Pod to provide more in depth, practical insights and background on legal and business issues impacting the transportation and logistics industry. Check us out!
The Grawe Group, LLC is transportation’s general counsel. With a team of experienced executives, we provide legal advice, business consulting, and managed professional services for the trucking and logistics industries. From legal and risk management matters, to operational, financial, and executive challenges, the Grawe Group has the consulting, management, and legal expertise in trucking and logistics to help you build sustainable success. www.thegrawegroup.com