Table of Contents
- Effective Grassroots Advocacy
- What is Grassroots Advocacy?
- Why is Grassroots Advocacy Important?
- Tools for Effective Grassroots Advocacy
- Dos and Don’ts
- In-Person Meeting with Elected Officials
- General Tips for Legislative Advocacy
- Sample Advocacy Letters
- Steps for Hosting a Visit with an Elected Official
- Planning a Successful Visit
- Invite Email
- Call Script
- Thank you Email
- Elected Officials in the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber Jurisdiction
- Chamber Specific Information
- Plan of Action Checklist
“Grassroots advocacy” is the process of contacting elected officials in relation to important policy issues. “Advocacy” is defined as advocating, speaking, or writing in support of something. An “advocate” is a person who speaks or writes in support of something. Under this definition, we are all advocates. Grassroots advocates raise public awareness on issues to influence public perception, regulations, and public policy.
2023 Legislative Priorities
The Top of Virginia Regional Chamber is focused on strengthening businesses in the City of Winchester, Clarke County, and Frederick County, Virginia, and fostering an environment in which businesses and community can thrive. The goal is to make our region a better place for all who work, live, and do business here. In order to elevate the voice of business, TVRC supports the following policy positions:
- Sustaining a robust public infrastructure, focusing on improvements to I-81 and regional upgrades.
- Our members cited location, including proximity to Northern Virginia/Interstates, Dulles International Airport, & the Inland Port, as one of the top benefits to having a business in this region, and it is important that we continue to invest in these strengths.
- The Winchester Regional Airport is another great asset, and we continue to support its growth.
- Enhancements to local transportation should continue to be studied and prioritized.
- Focusing on workforce challenges such as childcare, mental health, education, & housing and continuing to align business needs with relevant training.
- The worker shortage continues to impact almost every industry, contributing to higher prices, supply chain woes, and production slowdowns.
- Access to affordable childcare and housing are major barriers to recruiting and retaining reliable workers and should be prioritized.
- Our community embraces the leadership role that businesses and industry leaders play in ensuring the quality of instruction, programs, and results from our K-12 schools and workforce training programs
- Increased investment in mental health, including the youth, will also support the workforce. All local law enforcement and hospitals support increased funding in this area.
- Minimum wage should not be increased above the rate that was enacted during the 2020 session until the state studies the economic impact of any further escalations. The pandemic and resulting labor shortage have naturally increased wages, and as the government also continues to increase wages, small businesses struggle to compete.
- Government Collaboration
Building and maintaining strong synergy between local government and the business community, leading to proactive engagement on business policy, less regulations, and lower business and property taxes.
- Continuing to prioritize economic development, including support for small- and medium-sized businesses and more business-friendly legislation, is critical to robust business growth.
The Top of Virginia Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors adopted these 2023 policy priorities following their development by the TVRC’s Public Policy Committee. We thank our members, the elected officials who represent our region, as well as senior government officials who have participated in events throughout the year to discuss issues facing our region. That support and insight assisted in the development of this legislative agenda. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the community to elevate the voice of business in our region.
In-Person Meetings with Elected Officials
Dos and Don'ts
The following is a step-by-step guide for inviting your elected representatives to tour your facility. Note that state and local officials have a very small staff (if any), while federal officials have a whole team and multiple offices to navigate. This guide is not meant to address every scenario, and the TVRC team is happy to assist however we can along the way.
Hosting a Member is just the beginning of establishing a very valuable relationship. Make sure to keep in contact with the staffers, making them aware of any legislative issues that are currently affecting or could potentially affect your business. It’s important to strike a nice balance between staying in touch and not being overbearing.