I am a political junkie. I enjoy reading about the issue debates going on in Washington, D.C., and usually spend a fair amount of time flipping through the Sunday morning news shows. Despite the absurdity that appears on both sides of the aisle, I simply can’t get enough.

The beauty of following national politics is that there is always a big election coming up. In fact, in the last 20 years, there have probably been about eight elections where the pundits have told me “this is the most important election in your lifetime.” Of course, no matter who wins — Republicans or Democrats — the sun comes out the next day, and this great country of ours continues to be a world leader.

Admittedly, I do not pay near as much attention to local politics as I do to the national scene. Sure, I know some of the issues that are being discussed at the state level, but I could not tell you my representative in city government. I find out about decisions made locally after the fact, never before.

This is not a luxury an HVAC business owner has when deciding how to follow politics. On a lot of levels, the local politicians in your area will have a much more direct effect on your business than President Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, or Paul Ryan.

This is in no way to diminish the midterm election of Congress — believe it or not, I have heard it is the most important election of our lifetime.

Items like federal tax rates and governmental regulations will play a huge factor in how contractors run their businesses. It is important to know the issues and vote in a way that will help you and the business you run. However, as I have preached before, contractors should put just as much research into what candidates at the local level believe because these people have more of an impact on how an HVAC businesses will operate on a day-by-day basis.

Unfortunately, this is a bit harder and takes more work. Your city council candidates are not on the NBC Nightly News each evening, nor are they featured on Fox News Sunday. This is where a candidate’s website or the local community newspaper comes into play. Or you could simply pick up the phone. Local officials tend to respond when a business owner in the community places a call. Your business provides employment and tax revenue to their city.

But if you — a small business owner — call your congressman, you will get a form letter in return. If you raise concerns to your city council, there is a pretty good chance you will get a phone call, and someone on the other end will most likely listen to your point of view.

Use that opportunity to educate these people on the HVAC industry. I am fairly certain the vast majority have no idea the importance you serve to the community or what makes running your business difficult.

What these elected politicians can influence is how easy it is to do business in their cities. Are the regulatory and licensing hoops you must jump through so burdensome that it is affecting your bottom line? They can do something about that. Do they enforce the laws they have on the books, or do they not invest the resources needed? If they don’t, and you are one of the good guys playing by the rules, you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

So keep up with the national scene — pool your resources with associations like ACCA — but don’t forget about the local guys. Read the candidates’ literature, ask questions when they come campaigning at your door, or just schedule a time to go in and meet them for yourself.

Publication date: 7/16/2018

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