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Be Active This August!

August Recess 2013:
Trading Today. Building Tomorrow.

Here’s How to Connect with Your Lawmakers and be Effective from Home

Members of Congress will be back in their home districts/states from August 5 to September 6 for the August recess period. This is a perfect opportunity to contact your legislators and give input about how to grow the economy and create jobs by supporting new trade opportunities for manufacturers.

August Recess Outreach – Tell Your Legislators and Community to Support New Trade Opportunities

Here's What Else You Can Do Over August Recess:

1) Contact your members of Congress to discuss trade policy issues currently impacting manufacturing. Through the Manufacturing Works "Take Action" center, you can easily and quickly send an email to your federal legislators on a variety of manufacturing trade issues in two easy steps. Visit your "My Legislators" tab above for all the contact information you need to reach out to your lawmakers’ district/state offices. You can also take a few moments to call your members of Congress’ district office to discuss the importance of manufacturing issues. You can find the direct phone numbers of your personal legislators’ DC or district offices through the "My Legislators" page.

Specifically, this August, the NAM asks that you emphasize to Congress and your community the importance of international trade to manufacturers’ competitiveness and ability to retain and grow jobs.

Useful Trade Policy Talking Points:

1. U.S. manufactured goods exports are on the rise.
  • U.S. manufactured exports equaled nearly $1.4 trillion in 2012.
  • U.S. manufactured goods exports more than quadrupled since 1990.
  • U.S. exports have grown more than twice as fast as U.S. GDP since 2002 and accounted for 14 percent of U.S. GDP in 2012.

2. When markets open, sales rise.
  • In 2012, nearly 50 percent of U.S. manufactured goods exports went to just 20 countries, America’s free trade agreement partners.
  •  America’s free trade agreements partners purchased nearly 13 times more goods from the United States per capita than other countries did.

3. Trade supports good-paying American jobs.
  • Jobs linked to manufactured goods exports pay on average 15 to 20% more than other jobs.
  • Trade is vital to create new customers and production for manufacturers here.

4. Most companies that trade are SMEs.
  • The vast majority of U.S. exporters are small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 workers.
  • In addition, more than 6,000 SMEs export indirectly by selling goods and services to other companies that use them to export finished products.

2) Invite your Representatives and Senators to your manufacturing facility and show them that “manufacturing means jobs.” Plant tours are a great way for lawmakers to meet you and your employees, hear manufacturing success stories and see first-hand how their votes impact your business. If you are willing to host a plant tour, check out our online plant tour guide.

3) Check to see if your elected officials are hosting any in-district meetings or events. Visit their legislative website, Facebook page or Twitter site to see what their plans are over the next month. In addition, the NAM is tracking congressional in-district events over the upcoming August recess. Click here to access the most up-to-date list. Feel free to utilize NAM’s “Tips to Having a Successful In-District Meeting” below.

4) Visit members of Congress in their district offices or meet with their district directors during the August Recess. You can have an effective meeting in your state during the Summit with your legislator’s district director – right in your area. Take a few minutes today to set up a meeting with your members of Congress or staff when they are back home in your district. The NAM can provide you with all the tips you need to ensure a successful district visit. You can also plan a meeting with your member of Congress the next time he or she is home for a congressional recess period.

5) Submit an op-ed to your local newspaper on the importance of manufacturing trade issues. The NAM’s Trade Toolkit offers sample materials to make this process as easy as possible.

6) Follow the NAM on Twitter (@ShopfloorNAM), and be sure to join our Facebook page to stay abreast of the latest manufacturing trade news.

NAM's Official August Toolkit

Tips to Having a Successful In-District Meeting:

Be Prepared. Most people don’t approach their members of Congress with a well-researched, well-rehearsed pitch. Constituents who come to town hall meetings with thoughtful arguments, good data, and persuasive stories always get remembered.

Tell a Personal Story. Members of Congress are always looking for firsthand accounts of the impact that policies have on their constituents. Think in advance of how a policy might affect you or your family, fellow manufacturers, or community.

Use Numbers If You Have Them. Politicians live for one thing: 50 percent plus 1. This keeps them re-elected and employed. Use numbers by mentioning things like, “I have 50 employees working at my manufacturing plant,” or “There are 500 people in my community affected by this bill.”

Be Respectful. Some constituents start a conversation with, “I pay your salary so you better listen to me.” It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to your grocer or a public official – starting any conversation with another person in a rude manner is not a very tactful way to persuade them.

Go in Groups. Nothing says “listen to me” to a public official like an angry mob. This is not to suggest that you should bring pitch forks and torches to your next town hall meeting, but a chorus is better than a solo performance.

Talk to Staff. Every member of Congress brings staff to town hall meetings. Tell them your story before the meeting (also ask a public question during the meeting) and get their business cards.
Leave Paper. Any documents passed to state-based staff will likely be sent to the legislative assistant in Washington who covers your issue.

Follow Up Politely. Politely persistent people are more likely to persuade politicians. Congressional offices are often overworked, so an elected official often responds to an individual who just follows up with a phone call a few weeks after attending a meeting.

Get Your People to Multiple Meetings. When we heard the same obscure question in Crofton as we heard in Annapolis, my Member of Congress said, “We’d better look into that.” Hearing the same thing in different places signals to a politician that there may be a deeper problem afoot.

Demonstrate That You’re Not Going Away. If you continue to show your presence at town hall meetings, the legislator must deal with you, even if it’s only to avoid an uncomfortable encounter at a future town hall meeting.

Thank you in advance for your support through efforts back home this month, and throughout the year. For more information about the Manufacturing Works center, contact NAM’s Director of Public Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy, Meredith Nethercutt, at 202-637-3121 or

Join Manufacturing Works for all the tools you and your employees will need to help you become a key voice for the manufacturing industry today!