News from the Top

Federal Advocacy: The Time is Now


IDA members have advocated good policy and investment at the local level for decades. Increasingly through the years, members have become strong advocates at the state and provincial levels resulting in the profound success that is truly becoming impactful. Recently Central Houston and others took a journey to the capital and successfully protected billions in much needed transportation funding. Downtowns Winnipeg and Vancouver, along with others, have made great strides to secure significant investment from local, provincial and even federal government to address critical issues exasperated by the pandemic. There is no doubt that IDA members, equipped with a sharp vision for sound public policy, can affect change and government investment. 

Years of policy investment by the California Downtown Association (CDA) culminated this week with the successful passage of the Cares Court legislation adding yet one more significant state policy initiative to California’s efforts to address homelessness. CDA was the first business organization to support the Cares Court initiative earlier this year, along with many others, including the Chamber of Commerce, who have followed their lead.   

These examples are just the latest in the many success stories from throughout the years. What is different now is how we collectively leverage the efforts across all states and provinces and begin growing our impact at the federal level. With looming political, economic and environmental disruptions on the horizon, the importance of our profession becoming further advocates for public policy and wise governmental investment has never been more imperative. 

We need only to look to the UK to see where federal advocacy is paramount to the success of local BIDs and commercial districts. Just this week, the impacts of inflation and energy insecurity are having a profound effect on our colleagues and districts throughout the UK, prompting ATCM to continue their efforts of many years to drive change at the federal level. Ojay McDonald created a sample letter for members to convey the importance of federal support to reduce rising energy costs that threaten local businesses’ viability. This, too, is an example of how important it is to marshal collective action for federal public policy and investment.   

IDA is looking to the future and crafting federal legislative priorities in both Canada and United States. Next week, the U.S. Policy Committee will confirm a draft policy platform for the 118th Congress which will be presented to the IDA Board of Directors in Vancouver. On the Tuesday before the Annual Conference & Marketplace in Vancouver, Canadian IDA members and guests will convene a policy forum to flesh out top federal priorities for the year ahead. I cannot emphasize enough how essential it will be for our profession to step forward at the federal level and emphasize further critical investments needed to support city centers and commercial neighborhoods of the future. 

I hope you will become further engaged in your national advocacy efforts no matter in which country you live. Disruptions will continue for the foreseeable future, and IDA members can play a pivotal role.