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Young Funeral Directors Committee

Guest Column by Rick Kaufhold, CFSP, Routsong Funeral Home, Kettering

"It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

No, I don't mean the holidays are upon us. I mean it's politics season! As I write this, the race for the Presidency has only a few weeks remaining. By the time you read this, we will have successfully chosen the next executive for our great nation. I know for many, this season means mudslinging and half-truths filling our airwaves. It means a polarization along party lines and a barrage of not-so-subtle email messages urging a vote one way or the other. It means yard signs cluttering up every intersection and public right-of-way.

To me, it means something completely different. You see, my undergraduate degree is in political science. I actually spent a great deal of time and money studying politics. I love this stuff. It gets me going. I crave it. I love the process. To me, election season means democracy in action. I love it so much my fellow Young Funeral Directors Committee members called me "weird" and I didn't even mind. And after they called me names and the laughter died down, they tasked me with an assignment. As a committee, we were asked by the executive team to develop a Political Action Network (PAN), and I have been asked to spearhead the project.

You are probably familiar with the PAC (Political Action Committee). A PAC is when a special interest group, such as the OFDA (which as a special interest in advancing funeral service in Ohio) receives and raises money from constituent members of the group (funeral directors) and on behalf of the constituents makes donations to political campaigns. The PAN is not the PAC.

The PAN can become a powerful tool whereby OFDA can keep its finger on the pulse of the constituency and the potential influence individual members may have among public officials. The OFDA's interest is in knowing who you know and who knows you. Are you friends with the mayor of your town? Are you a city councilperson? Do you golf with a state legislator? Does your son play tee-ball with the daughter of the superintendent of the local school district?

Why is this information important? In the event that funeral service in general or OFDA in particular needs to reach out to legislators or local governments for support on an issue, this network can provide the foundation for a grassroots public relations campaign. OFDA can come to the individual member and, based on the strength of the relationship, work with the member to craft an approach for the benefit of the association.

The Young Funeral Directors will continue to refine the concept of the PAN and begin to put together a more specific plan for its organization. Stay tuned for more information and visit the PAN webpage at often. If you have ideas or comments that will help this process, please contact the OFDA office at 1-800-589-6632 or email
I'm Rick Kaufhold, and I approved this message.

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