View from the Bar: Lobbying for Your Industry

Sean Sullivan of The Port Bar in Oakland
Sean Sullivan, owner of the 2020 Nightclub & Bar Award-winning Port Bar in Oakland, CA.

Our industry can survive—but only if we get organized.

None of us could have been prepared for this in any meaningful way but as the conference call detailed the other day, our industry is working with a broken model. This health crisis demonstrates it even more.  

Don’t despair that the next round of aid hasn’t passed yet. We need to take advantage of this time to ensure this legislation works for us and our workers. As we’ve written, we need to be diligent in reaching out to our local city, county, and state legislators to put the needs of our industry ahead of big corporations to make sure people are bailed out before companies. 


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One of our great colleagues in Texas, Bobby Heugel, has created this appeal to his governor that you can copy, paste and adapt to send to your governor and elected officials.

Read this: Comparing the Hospitality Sector's Relief Package Requests

In California, our bar and restaurant community has banded together to co-sign a letter to our governor, a former bar and restaurant owner himself! Add your name or copy and paste to send your own. 

If you haven’t been involved in advocacy work, trust me when I say that your efforts will have an impact. Large corporations have lobbyists working full time for them but together, we can make a louder noise.

I want to share a crucial tip for when things return to normalcy: Stay connected to your legislators. In our three-and-a-half short years at The Port Bar, we’ve hosted four members of Congress. We waive our event space rental fee for anyone running for elected office and ask that our in-kind contribution be counted. It doesn’t give us any extra benefits or discounts on our annual cabaret renewal permit fee but it does help our email or Facebook message get responded to in times such as these.

Read this: Looking to Help Your Staff? These Nine Companies are Hiring

As was emphasized by our panelists on our Surviving the Next 90 Days webinar last week, stay connected to your community! We are going to get through this together by acting together.

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