With the 2017 Connecticut General Assembly session underway at the State Capitol, it’s time to start contacting your legislators.

Many special interest groups are extremely aggressive in promoting initiatives detrimental to Connecticut’s economic competitiveness, so the business community needs to be just as aggressive and vocal.

Gov. Malloy addresses more than 300 business leaders at Connecticut Business Day last March.
Gov. Malloy addresses more than 300 business leaders at Connecticut Business Day last March.

It’s easy to believe that our lawmakers should already know all the answers or that there’s no point in reaching out to some of them, because your voice will just get lost in all the noise.

But in fact, many lawmakers simply don’t know enough about everyday business issues to fully understand the impact of certain legislative proposals.

That’s why they depend on their constituents to educate them, and most are eager to engage.

Here are 10 ways you can make an immediate impact on your lawmakers and the legislative process:

1. Find out who represents you. Not sure who your state senator or representative is? CBIA's legislator search tool is an easy way to identify your lawmakers and get their contact information.

2. Introduce yourself. Send an introductory email or letter to your lawmakers to establish a relationship. CBIA has templates you can use to get started.

3. Send an invitation. Invite your legislators to your business for a discussion and a tour. Hosting a legislator gives you a chance to showcase your products, services, and impact on your community and express how elected officials can help businesses like yours compete and succeed.

4. Attend a legislative breakfast meeting. CBIA, chambers of commerce, and other organizations across the state bring business professionals and state lawmakers together for an open dialogue about fixing Connecticut’s economy and business climate.

5. Serve as a resource. Let your legislators know that you’re just a phone call away when they need information from an employer. When they’re unsure about how to vote on a business-critical bill, your input will help them understand the impact their vote will have on your business and the economy.

6. Stay up-to-date. Visit your legislators’ websites and sign up for their newsletters to stay up-to-date on their priorities and any opportunities to interact. Follow them on your favorite social media platforms.

7. Meet at the Capitol. If you’re unable to have your legislators visit your business, give them a call and ask to meet with them at their offices at the State Capitol, where the decisions are made.

8. Attend Connecticut Business Day. Join hundreds of business leaders in Hartford in early March to connect with your lawmakers in person. Stay tuned for more details about this exclusive annual event.

9. Continue the dialogue. You’ll be most effective influencing the policy debate if you stay in touch with your legislators throughout the session. An occasional phone call or meeting over a cup of coffee are great ways to maintain your relationship and discuss the issues you care about most.

10. Adopt a Legislator. Join business advocates by participating in CBIA’s Adopt-a-Legislator program, an advocacy initiative for those who want to take their legislative action to the next level. Adopters receive a toolkit and exclusive communications and access to off-the-record meetings with legislators and other business advocates throughout the year.

CBIA is here to make it as easy as possible for you to get involved. If you have any questions about the above recommendations or need help getting started, contact CBIA’s Nicole Cline (860.244.1929)| @nicole_cline.