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Auto Care Association Grassroots Advocacy Panel: Start Small, Tell Your Story

Panelists Keith Hughes, district director for Congressman Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Ray Pohlman, vice president – government relations director for AutoZone and moderator Aaron Lowe, senior vice president, regulatory and government affairs, Auto Care Association, brought attendees up to speed on how to navigate the waters of getting their voices heard.

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Photo by Mark Phillips

Photo by Mark Phillips

LAS VEGAS — Don’t think your business is too small to influence legislation that affects the auto care industry, attendees of the Auto Care Association’s Better Business Through Grassroots Advocacy panel discussion heard on Monday at AAPEX.

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Panelists Keith Hughes, district director for Congressman Joe Heck (R-Nev.), Ray Pohlman, vice president – government relations director for AutoZone and moderator Aaron Lowe, senior vice president, regulatory and government affairs, Auto Care Association, brought attendees up to speed on how to navigate the waters of getting their voices heard.

“The smallest of companies can absolutely influence legislation,” Hughes said. “Don’t ever think you’re too small. The better you inform your legislator about what the bill does and doesn’t do to help your business, the better they’ll be able to react and act on it. But if he doesn’t know, he may not be able to act on your behalf.”

Pohlman said it’s imperative that employees are fully knowledgeable about a particular legislative issue before talking to a member of Congress or their staff. “Make sure your employees are fully briefed on the issues,” Pohlman said.

Lowe strongly suggests inviting legislators to your business or factory. “When a legislator sees up close what’s happening, it means so much more.”

Pohlman suggests business owners meet politicians before they reach Congress, whenever possible. The local level is a great place to forge relationships, he says. “It’s as simple as building a relationship,” he says.

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