You’ve likely seen a lot of political ads this election season, certainly with a lot of promises and probably with a lot of half-truths and misrepresentations, too. But for direct sellers, there is only one message that counts. Will this candidate understand and support the entrepreneurship, customer service, great products and opportunity that direct sellers bring to their communities and the country?
You know, of course, that we will be voting for a new president on Nov. 6; significantly, there are also 33 senators, 435 congressmen and many state legislators who will be up for election. These men and women will confront not only critical national and state issues like the federal budget and debt, security and terrorism, and foreign policy, but also matters of utmost importance to direct selling—taxation, independent contractor status, consumer protection matters, pyramid schemes, international trade, employment law, privacy, business opportunities and many more.
The Direct Selling Association (DSA) has a comprehensive strategy to ensure that these policymakers and lawmakers are aware of direct sellers, their interests and concerns. (For those of you who’d like the details of how the Association comprehensively advocates 365 days a year on behalf of direct sellers in Congress, state capitals, and city council halls, drop me a note.) But it is equally important that, as citizens and direct sellers, direct selling executives are aware of legislators who have demonstrated a knowledge of and support for direct sellers. Thus, we have published the first Direct Selling Association Voter’s Guide. This state-by-state breakdown of nearly 100 elected officials includes descriptions of the legislators, their districts, the substantive areas in which they have been involved with direct selling, as well as a general business assessment of the legislator’s record from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (of which DSA is a member).
We’ve considered a number of issues as we identified these candidates. Some of them include:
- Did the lawmaker support direct sellers in having the FTC amend the recently promulgated business opportunity rule?
- Has the lawmaker sponsored legislation supported by DSA?
- Has the lawmaker or candidate ever been a direct seller?
- Has the legislator been supportive of independent contractor status?
- Does the legislator or candidate have knowledge of or a relationship with a DSA member company?
Direct sellers can and should have an impact every Election Day. We estimate that there are as many as 40,000 individual direct sellers in each congressional district. Even a few of those direct seller votes could make the difference in determining who serves in Congress or in a state legislature and who does not. It is our hope that direct sellers will become a visible and appreciated force in each and every election, and that executives and individual direct sellers alike use the tools DSA is committed to providing to help voters make informed electoral choices every November.
Take a look at the DSA Voter’s Guide on our website at www.dsa.org and let us know what you think. If you have any questions or comments about the candidates or their positions on direct selling, please let us know. And please feel free to share any information you may have about specific candidates for future editions of the DSA Voter’s Guide.
Joseph N. Mariano is President of the U.S. Direct Selling Association.