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[Author: Mark Othmer, 05.17 | Keywords: Nebraska Field Notes, Nebraska Legislative]

Recently, several dealers from Nebraska and Iowa traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the annual legislative Fly-In. In my opinion, this is one of the best experiences for dealers INEDA helps arrange. 

We make arrangements for Nebraska dealers to visit the offices of each of their congressional delegation, often getting direct access and time with their respective Senator or Congressman. Dealers have the opportunity to express their opinions to their congressional delegation on current issues affecting the agricultural economy and equipment business, both good and bad. While we try to specify an important issue or two to focus on each year, I have found that an item often comes up without prompting that generates more discussion than anything pre-planned. That is why I usually wait on the prepared material until the end of the meeting and allow the dealers to speak in a casual, unprepared manner.

This approach means much more to a legislator than a canned presentation or speech, with the delivery from a dealer coming across more sincere and personal in nature, exactly what we as an Association try to promote. The hope is that with these visits, a personal relationship is established and our congressional delegations remember those visits, so when a new issue comes up they will ask our member (a constituent) for his/her opinion and guidance on the subject.

Every Nebraska dealer who has ever participated in this event has never done so just once. Every year, new attendees tell us that this is the best Association-sponsored event they have ever attended and they are ready to come back a second time. Some participate every year, while others skip a year or two and then return. The point is, once you try it, you realize the importance of the event and how meaningful it is for both the legislators and INEDA members.

One of the most appreciated events for Nebraska dealers during the Fly-In is the Nebraska Breakfast. This weekly event has been going on in the cafeteria of the Dirksen Senate office building since 1943. Each member of the Nebraska Congressional delegation takes the opportunity to speak to the attendees and anyone is welcome to attend. I am always amazed by how many Nebraskans in Washington, D.C. attend each time we are there. I doubt there have ever been less than 50 people in attendance each year, and this process is repeated every Wednesday the House and Senate are in session.

If this sounds like an event you would like to experience, please let me know. The Association does share some of the costs for travel and room expense, and once you get there, meals are generally covered. By the way, we do dine in some very nice venues!

My favorite part of the Fly-In is meeting dealers and Association staff members participating from other states. The opportunity for networking is huge during this event, and in my opinion by far the most fun. This year, I was lucky enough to spend time with some dealers from Minnesota and South Dakota. Hopefully, new friendships were formed and we will have the opportunity to visit with each other again.

Summer Legislative Meeting & Golf Outing
Mark your calendar and plan to attend the Summer Legislative Meeting and Golf Outing in York, Nebraska, on June 22. The meeting will be held at the York Country Club in the morning, followed by a golf outing and steak fry in the afternoon. See you there!


About the Author

Mark Othmer

For nearly 20 years, Mark has traveled across Nebraska calling on members. A “regular” at the State Capitol, Mark keeps his finger on the pulse of legislative issues affecting members. When he’s not driving across Nebraska, Mark can be found golfing, cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers and spending lazy afternoons at the family farm.