STAFDA News, April/May 2014

Second Congressional Fly-in
The Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association (STAFDA) will hold its 2nd Annual Congressional Fly-In to Washington D.C. on Wednesday, June 11, and Thursday, June 12. Fly-in participants will be housed at the Phoenix Park Hotel, walking distance to Capitol Hill.

Many organizations conduct similar grassroots efforts
allowing members to meet with legislators on important issues impacting their businesses and their industries. Last year’s STAFDA fly-in participants were concerned about health care reform, taxation at the federal and state level, the Marketplace Fairness Act and other topics  affecting their companies.

Surveys have shown that constituent visits to Congressional offices have a greater impact than e-mails, faxes or letters. Face-to-face meetings also provide the opportunity to build a relationship with members of Congress while developing a network of industry peers from across the country.

Representative Tom Cotton, 4th Congressional District of Arkansas (L) visits with Kramer Darragh (R), 2012 STAFDA president, at last year’s STAFDA congressional fly-in.

Advocacy Associates, a Washington D.C.-based organization, coordinates the event for STAFDA by preparing individualized legislative itineraries for attendees before they take to Capitol Hill. Fly-in participants are guaranteed at least three meetings with legislators from their state and if an attendee has a specific issue to address with a Congressman from outside their state, that request can usually be accommodated. Each Congressional visit is scheduled for 30 minutes.

On the evening of June 11, Advocacy Associates’ Stephanie Vance, a former Congressional staff director and author of four books on advocacy, will give STAFDA members an overview of what to expect on Capitol Hill; how to interact with Congressmen and their staff; the most effective way to present their concerns that will render action; and how to follow-up with them. Participants will also receive two books – Citizens of Action and The Influence Game.

After her one-hour workshop, a group dinner is scheduled in the hotel’s restaurant, the Dubliner. On Thursday, June 12, fly-in participants will meet for breakfast and a “group huddle” before they embark on their Congressional visits. In addition, STAFDA is working to secure a Washington insider to speak at the breakfast meeting.

To prepare for the fly-in, Vance will conduct a webinar on May 15, 11:00 a.m. – noon (Eastern). This is a free webinar for all members where they can gain a better understanding of the fly-in, or if they are undecided about attending, hopefully they’ll get their questions answered and register!

A fly-in offers an incredible opportunity to learn and experience the government firsthand. Meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill gives participants a new perspective on how the government works.

This is a quick, 1.5 day event so time away from the office is minimal. A “Save the Date” postcard was recently mailed to members. Registration materials will be made available later this month – both in print and online from the members-only section of STAFDA’s website.

For more information on this program and STAFDA membership, please contact Catherine Usher, member services director, at 800/352-2981 or e-mail, or visit STAFDA’s website,