It turns out that the best time to reach out to state and local officeholders – particularly new officeholders – is even before they are elected.
"There is huge value in building those relationships with elected officials or prospective elected officials before the start of the session in January,” said Andy Tauer, Indiana Farm Bureau’s executive director of public policy. “It’s just not possible to build the right kind of relationship during the legislative session, when legislators are being pulled in so many different directions.”
Tauer added that this summer would be a perfect time to reach out to new and potential officeholders.
“Time is one of our members’ most valuable commodities,” he said, but he added that an early investment of time could provide significant dividends this fall and as the session draws nearer.
Early relationship-building is even more important this year than usual, noted Jeff Cummins, INFB associate director of policy engagement. The reason is that due to retirements and redistricting, there will be more new faces than usual when the General Assembly reconvenes next year.
“INFB had a lot of success this past session,” Tauer noted, adding that the main reason for that success is those relationships.
Developing a relationship doesn’t need to be difficult.
“Remember that they want to get to know you, too. They want a resource they can rely on for agricultural policy issues,” Cummins said. It could start with something as simple as a phone call, text or an invitation to visit your farm.
Tauer added that it’s also vitally important to connect with newly elected commissioners and county council members.
“If you don’t know how to contact a new or potential elected official, reach out to the INFB public policy team or your regional manager,” he said.