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Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or Ron Paul supporter, I’m guessing you’ve watched at least one Republican Primary debate. If you haven’t watched them, I’m certain you’ve read about them. I’ve watched them AND I’ve read about them.

I’m intrigued by the political process. I find the average U.S. citizen’s ability to influence politics is vital to bringing about real change. Unfortunately, too many people have become disillusioned with politics and simply chose to disengage in the process. For nearly a decade, I’ve been involved with politics at the caucus, local, county and state level. It has been an enlightening experience!

Guess you can call me “Mr. Freeze” now. Now let me broach a subject routinely vilified by the media, the public and even politicians: lobbying! Wikipedia says, “Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or advocacy groups (interest groups).” By this definition, I can now add “lobbyist” to my personal list of accomplishments and special skills.

A few months ago, I participated in ACA International’s Fly-In to D.C. to visit my State Representatives and discuss H.R. 3035 (The Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011). This bill would have updated the TCPA to permit the use of dialers when calling cell phones. Unfortunately, this bill was quickly “killed” as a result of lobbying by consumer protection groups who argued the bill would infringe upon a consumer’s privacy. Because of the current election year, I doubt a similar bill will be presented in 2012, BUT I’m hopeful that a revised bill will be introduced in early 2013.

Teaching politicians about our industry needs is crucial. While visiting with my Representatives about H.R. 3035, I learned an extremely important lesson. I discovered that their offices are flooded with information. Our elected officials rely upon their staff to review all of this information, categorize and prioritize it and then brief them. It became very clear that if you don’t communicate with your political leaders, they simply won’t know anything about what is important to you and the collection industry.

For various reasons (some unfounded), our industry is highly regulated and overly criticized. It is therefore easy for consumer groups to unfairly attack any ideas that might help us do our jobs a little more efficiently.

It is imperative YOU get involved in our industry lobbying efforts. The consumer groups are constantly delivering their harmful message to politicians who can vote to help improve our industry. We must make our message heard, too! There are numerous voices clamoring for our politicians’ attention. If your voice isn’t among the group, then your (our) message isn’t making it to them.

Get involved! Support the efforts of ACA International, DBA, NARCA, and other related associations. Be a lobbyist for the ARM industry! Perceived villains or not, together we can make a positive difference!

Dave Rudd is DialerFan, a champion of the collection industry, focused on improving collection capabilities through technology and political action. He energetically participates in lobbying efforts for the industry through donations, writing letters, making phone calls, participating in seminars and attending events in Washington D.C., including the most recent ACA International Fly-In.

Well acquainted with debt collection, Dave spent two years debt collecting before joining IAT in 1990. He has held a variety of positions at IAT, a provider of collection-specific dialing technology, including President/CEO and most recently Senior VP of Finance & Administration.


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