I have conversations daily, at work, at lunch, at the gym, and inevitably I hear “I don’t get into politics”. The statistics seem to confirm this too when you consider only:

  • 1% of Americans donate to a political campaign.
  • 21% of Americans know who Robert Gates is.
  • 15% of Americans can identify Harry Reid.
  • 16% “stay up to date” on political news.
  • and 36% of 18-34 year olds give “quite a lot of thought” to an election.

So do these stats confirm that most people simply are not involved in politics? To the contrary if you work, produce an income, and spend money you are DEEPLY involved in government and politics whether you choose to be or not.

In 2009 the average American will:

  • work 13 days to pay for their Clothing.
  • work 22 days to pay for their Recreation and Entertainment.
  • work 31 days to pay for their Food.
  • work 52 days to pay for their Medical needs.
  • work 65 days to pay for their Housing.
  • WORK 107 DAYS TO PAY TAXES TO FUND THE GOVERNMENT!

And that’s not to mention the taxes and fees you pay for what you purchase and other services. You would have a very hard time coming with aspects of your life where government is NOT involved. The toothpaste you used this morning, the days you can water your lawn, the radio station you listen to on the way to work, the headache medicine you take, even the items you can sell at a garage sale have some level of government regulation and this infringement is rapidly increasing.

If you are in the advertising industry and have not been involved you must know that 2009 and 2010 will be critical. Government revenues are down and politicians don’t get elected by cutting services. They will be searching for ways to raise revenue and we have to be ready it doesn’t come from our industry or our clients.

Sound like a tough assignment? It’s really not. You can get involved with little time commitment by taking these simple actions:

  • Pay attention to this blog regularly. I will promptly update this at the first sign of pending legislation. There are links to Jacksonville City Council Members, the Florida State Government site, and the American Advertising Federation’s Government site.
  • Contact your representatives and tell them how you feel. These are people just like me and you who will do what their constituents want. Make yourself heard. Politicians need to hear from you when they do something right too.
  • Volunteer for a campaign. If there is someone out there running for office that shares your ideals join the campaign. You know more about advertising than they do. They could use your help and it will be fun!

Those of us in a Government role in the AAF will continue to work hard to communicate the issues to you and to effect policy in a positive way but we can’t do it without you. You ARE involved, just get more involved on your own terms.

Rusty Winter is the Government Relations Chair for AAF Jacksonville.

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