By Todd Spencer
OOIDA executive vice president
Many truckers have told us they’d like to meet with their U.S. lawmakers. That’s not easy when for most of the year you have to go to Washington, DC, to find them. So, when members of Congress go home during their summer recess from Aug. 9 to Sept. 7, it’s a great opportunity to meet with them.
On their home turf, it’s likely they will be greeting the public. Some meet with local Chamber of Commerce groups or other local clubs. Some do old-fashioned town hall meetings. Many meet personally with individual constituents – that’s you. Call their local offices to find out what their schedules are and make arrangements to see them face to face.
No chance to get home? Don’t give up trying to communicate. Right now, you have plenty to say. And this is a time that your lawmakers should be all ears.
When you meet or talk with them, be ready and well-informed. Lawmakers have heard a lot about the fuel situation and many have already received “talking points” from Big Oil. Have your own talking points prepared and don’t dump all your frustrations on your representative and senators. Stick to a straightforward, short message.
If we are all saying the same thing, it will make more of an impact.
Number one, truckers should demand that unbearable fuel costs be addressed. Then pick no more than two other issues to discuss. If it was me, those points would be that fuel surcharges should be passed along to the one who pays for the fuel and that trucking transactions should be fully disclosed. I would pound home that message. Those would be my talking points.
Giving them more than a good, short, solid list dilutes the impact of a single, powerful message. And it must be a doable list. Realistically, there are some issues lawmakers can address and others they can’t. Asking them to fix a problem they have no control over is just as frustrating for them as it is for you.
Let them know how they can help you. That’s what it’s all about. If your arrows are all over the place, few will hit the mark. Let’s all aim together for the bull’s-eye. LL