The Fire Chief project: Is it time to get (a little) political?

Helping your state and federal legislators get to know your facility certainly can’t hurt

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Do you know who your State Senate, State Assembly, U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators are? Have you ever written them a letter or sent them an email? Have they been to your facility? Do they know you exist?

I know, the last thing a clean-water operator wants to do is mess with state and national politics – city politics can be tough enough. But remember, the folks in the statehouse and in Congress also make decisions that affect what you do, where your money comes from, and the standards your effluent has to meet.

So why not get to know them? Here’s an example of how it can be done. The Davison Index newspaper in Michigan reports that Congressman Dan Kildee recently visited Davison to tour the city’s award winning water treatment facility (I know, that’s a drinking water plant, but the concept is the same).

City leaders took him Kildee on a guided tour, showing how the city gathers and treats water and pipes it to homes and businesses. “Davison Department of Public Works employee Brian Gist, who runs the 8-year-old water treatment plant, led the tour, showing Kildee the process from start to finish,” the newpaper reported.

After the tour, Kildee told the paper, “This is an obviously well done, well maintained facility. It’s another example of how every community meets its infrastructure needs.”

Mayor Tim Bishop praised Gist for the quality of the tour, telling the paper, “It was very educational and in depth. The tour he gave was phenomenal.”

Next time Kildee is asked to vote on a bill in Congress on funding for water infrastructure, do you think he will now be more of less inclined to vote in favor? Every little bit helps.

Getting close to elected state and federal representatives helps further the aims of The Fire Chief Project:

  • Raise clean-water operators to the status of the fire chief.
  • Make kids grow up wanting to be clean-water operators.


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