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Grassroots Action Center

“What is Grassroots?”

Grassroots lobbying is when everyday citizens contact their own legislators in an organized manner to try to influence legislation and policy. Advocacy groups of all kinds engage in grassroots lobbying, asking their member companies and employees to call or email their legislators either in support of or in opposition to a specific piece of legislation. Ensure your representatives in Washington, D.C. understand the important role that generic medications play in lowering health care cost. Let them also know that you are an important business in their community: how many people you employ and how much taxes you pay. Members of Congress, Congressional staff and federal agencies need to hear about your expertise and experiences.

The intersection between industry and government action is clearer than ever. Almost every day, Congress and state legislatures make decisions that potentially impact our industry for a long time to come. Industry leaders and employees are a great resource for the industry. Grassroots advocacy doesn’t require money, it thrives on relationships.

Remember that:

  • nothing is more important than access to legislators and their key staff.

  • constituents enjoy a special access to elected officials that others do not.

  • GPhA members can use their constituent access and local expertise to work effectively with GPhA’s Government Affairs team.

  • a team approach represents our best chance of success.  Work with the GPhA staff to ensure the best meeting possible.

What Ways Can You Be Involved?

Facility Tours

Do not underestimate the power of a tour through your company’s facility. The tour is an important opportunity to spend time with your elected officials. A brief tour and discussion can open lawmakers’ eyes and understand your issues better. Take this unique opportunity to educate lawmakers and forge an important relationship. Email info@gphaonline.org for more information. 

Meeting with Lawmakers

Meetings with lawmakers are very important: in Washington or in your local state capitol. As in your ordinary business and social life, a personal visit has more immediate impact and more lasting impression than an email. Every member of Congress has at least one local office in the district they represent, and most have several.

Congressional district offices are staffed by people whose job it is to communicate with constituents. There are no barriers to stopping by these local offices and establishing relationships with the staff. Don’t feel put off if you meet with a staff member, they are essential advisors to legislators.

If you are planning a visit to Washington, D.C., please contact Mark Hendrickson in the GPhA Government Affairs office at (202) 249-7100. We can assist you in scheduling and preparing for visits.

Phone Calls & Emails

A phone call and an email are not as personal as a visit, but are still important and easy ways to keep in touch with staff.

Legislators are seldom in their offices to take phone calls. They have committee meetings, votes on the floor, meetings with constituent groups and many other demands on their time. Expect to speak with a staff member in many cases, and to have your email read by a staffer. That is their job, but your message will get through.

With that in mind, here are a few ground rules for phone calls:

  1. Use the phone when time is critical (e.g., an impending vote).

  2. Use the phone when you want to convey urgency.

  3. Leave a simple message of your support or opposition to the bill, using its House or Senate number and the name it is known by.

  4. Always mention your name, title and company. Ask the staff person to call you back and let you know what action the legislator took.

Do you want to learn more? Contact GPhA Government Affairs: (202) 249-7100.