As a beauty professional, advocating for your industry is important. Getting involved before there is specific legislation to act on can make a key difference in your voice being heard when issues do arise. Building a relationship with your lawmakers allows you to educate them on the ways our industry affects their district and the state.
Legislators can’t be experts on every matter that they’re asked to weigh in on. They must do their best to make good decisions for their constituents based on the knowledge they possess. Your representatives rely heavily on their constituents to gain perspective on the issues that are important to their voters, and that includes you. As part of the strong and growing beauty industry, you are qualified to speak to how our industry contributes to your state’s economy, points of your business, and the importance of cosmetology licensing.
Deregulation is still very much an issue at hand in the legislatures, as evidenced by the legislation tracked in the 2019 session by PBA’s Government Affairs team. From full deregulation with no oversight of our industry to piece-meal deregulation like blow-dry bills and drastic hour reductions, there is a lot to look out for. If you build a relationship with your legislator prior to this legislation being introduced in your state (or reintroduced if it has already been an issue), you can be proactive about gaining their support or opposition when it is needed for a specific bill or issue.
A great way to build relationships with your legislators is to call their office and schedule a meeting with them outside of legislative session. This is an opportunity to introduce yourself, find common ground, and give insight to our industry that lawmakers might otherwise overlook. You don’t have to have all the answers or any previous contact with your legislator to have a meeting with them. Holly Thalman, a salon owner from Texas, is experienced with building relationships with her legislators and shares:
“In my experience we have to remember state legislators just need education on the industry. I have made myself available by visiting their offices at the Capitol and making sure the Chief of Staff knew my name and had my personal email and cell number. I have invited legislators to tour my establishment and joined them for golf tournaments. It is intimidating at first, but you get used to it.”
PBA’s advocacy page provides a toolkit specifically to walk you through setting up and preparing for a meeting with your legislator. PBA’s Government Affairs Team is also happy to work with you to provide statistics specific to your state and personalize the message.
Need help or have questions? Email Kati Rapoza, Advocacy Program Manager at email@example.com!