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September 2014

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44 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | September 2014 Best Practices It was December 1995 when Whit Perryman, CEO of Vermeer Equipment of Texas Inc., realized the importance of getting to know elected officials personally. He headed to Washington, D.C., to meet with several representatives with the purpose of protecting financial incentives associated with Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). "It was then I realized how important it really was to get to know my representative personally," said Perryman. He came away from his experience with two observations. The first is that e-mails and letters can easily be misdirected or overlooked; and second is that congressional staffers play a huge role in the political process. On that trip, Perryman successfully met with his representative as well as with then Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas), who was the U.S. House majority leader at the time. "I realized even a small company like ours could make a difference," said Perryman. There's a saying on the Hill: "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that man behind the tree." – Russell B. Long. When Whit Perryman first heard this phrase quoted by a local congressman, it stuck with him. The message is clear – don't complain if you didn't come up here and fight for your cause. "Our industry is small when compared to the whole busi- ness climate," said Perryman. "If we aren't fighting for our causes, our voices won't be heard." Perryman's actions speak to his commitment to inform lawmakers about the needs of our industry. For dealers ready to take action, Perryman offers some sage advice. His Model 1. Get them back home. While Perryman is a regular at AED Washington Fly-Ins, he finds visits back home equally effective as trips to the nation's capital. He isn't shy about inviting local congressional representatives to the dealership's locations. At least seven or eight stores out of 12 have hosted visits. "Congressmen like face time with constituents," he said. How One Dealer Helps Move the Needle in Washington, D.C. Whit Perryman's no frills advice on political advocacy. BY JOANNE COSTIN Whit Perryman, CEO, of Vermeer Texas- Louisiana met with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) during the AED Washington Fly-In held in April 2014 Whit Perryman intoduces Texas Congresman Roger Williams, a former auto dealer, on Day 2 of the 2014 AED Washington Fly-In.

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