Why candidates care
Anyone running for federal office, whether they are running for re-election or as a new candidate, has an obvious interest in the concern of those who they will be asking to vote for them. Federal candidates want, and need, the support of their constituents and an election year is when they come to you asking for your vote and support. Without that, they cannot be elected. So 2008 is a real opportunity for the horse community to get involved and make itself, individually and collectively, important to candidates.
Why is the horse community important?
• 4.6 million Americans are involved in the horse industry;
• The constituency group is broad; there are horses in every state;
• 25% of horse owners have incomes over $100,000 annually;
• Riding, whether for showing or recreation, is a healthy activity and the industry can use national concerns about health and exercise to its advantage;
• The horse industry has an economic impact of $102 billion on the U.S. economy and supports 1.4 million full-time jobs;
• Horse owners pay $1.9 billion in taxes each year;
• The industry attracts investments of nearly $25 billion in capital equipment and structures and stimulates more than $4.1 billion in taxes and land purchases each year;
• Breeding, raising and training horses is an activity that promotes the use and preservation of public lands and parks. It is a green buffer to urban sprawl in many states. Green space is an issue in all parts of the country.
Be able to explain your issues
Specific issues that affect the horse industry are raised in each Congress as bills are introduced. But there are several areas of general concern that are of overriding importance to all segments of the horse community, which involves racing, showing and recreation and different breed and disciplines. These include:
Welfare and Safety
Comprehensive Immigration Reform
Access to Public Lands
Movement of Horses; Diseases
Know the candidates
Visit their websites; go to town hall meetings; consider endorsements by trusted officials, groups and organizations; watch the debates; read a wide array of news sources for a variety of viewpoints.
Start a relationship
Invite a candidate to your home, farm or business;
Invite a candidate to your organization’s meeting, show or event;
Include a candidate and their family on a trail ride;
Organize a “meet and greet” for candidates;
Take advantage of campaign events in your area to have a face-to-face conversation;
Write letters to let them know what issues are important to you.
Ask candidates to complete a questionnaire about issues important to the horse community;
Invite a candidate to write something for your organization’s newsletter or publication.
Register to Vote
Follow-up after the election
Know the rules
While there are few restrictions on activities that individuals may engage in with respect to candidates running for federal office, there are limitations on what associations and corporations may do under the IRS Code and Federal Election Commission Act.