New Orleans, LA (January 10, 2001) – The American Knife and Tool Institute unveiled its new Legislative Action Plan at the 2001 S.H.O.T. Show in New Orleans. The annual trade gathering also marked the third anniversary of AKTI.
The Legislative Action Plan is modeled on a presentation in May 2000 to Oregon U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley. At that meeting, executives from Benchmade, Kershaw Knives, Gerber and Columbia River Knife and Tool detailed the economic impact of the knife industry in Oregon and nationally.
Congressperson Hooley learned, for example, that at least 2,000 potential voters earn their living from the knife industry in the Portland, Oregon area. And there are another 250 in the remainder of the state who make knives or knife-related products.
Nationally, the knife industry generates retail sales in excess of $1.2 billion.
Congresswoman Hooley, who generally votes along liberal lines when it comes to gun-related legislation, was obviously impressed with the knife industry and its representatives. In October 2000 when Columbia River Knife and Tool lost 50 models of its one-hand opening knives to a 16- day seizure by U.S. Customs, Congressperson Hooley helped come to their rescue. She and Oregon U. S. Senator Gordon Smith agreed to co-sign a letter to the Commissioner of U.S. Customs in Washington, D.C. Then three days later U.S. Customs ended the seizure.
One of AKTI’s challenges has always been to maximize the reach of its message. To make sure every available member dollar is wisely and efficiently used to tell the knife industry story. For example, publicity experts indicate you should not even begin a national television campaign unless you have $4-6 million committed to start the program and generate enough spots to achieve what is called “share of voice.” There are simply so many competing advertisements on national television that gaining any viewer attention in any market demands they see your ads several times.
This fact, coupled with the impact of the Oregon presentation, convinced AKTI that the key to a grassroots campaign directed at educating lawmakers had to start in one state, then build on that base be adding another and another. And if we used executives at member companies in these states to make the presentations, we would achieve several more benefits.
First of all, key company executives would develop closer relationships with their state lawmakers. Secondly, these lawmakers would also hear the story of the knife industry from a local or regional perspective. These face-to-face presentations to lawmakers would also have a high probability of success explaining the impact of local knife industry suppliers on the state’s economy. Finally, having local executives tell the AKTI story would dramatically reduce costs.
All of these benefits merge perfectly with AKTI’s goal of telling the knife industry story on a limited budget. It will do more with less. Hence AKTI’s new Legislative Action Plan was born; here are its six key aspects.
AKTI Legislative Action Plan
- AKTI Board Members with legislative-contact experience will help AKTI-member manufacturers, importers and distributors host meetings with their area state representative(s), U. S. Congressman or Congresswoman, and U.S. Senators.
- State by state, AKTI’s ongoing meetings will create a national network of state and federal lawmakers who understand the vital role of responsible suppliers of knives and tools in America and our industry’s total economic impact at all levels.
- AKTI representatives will offer input on presenting a professional picture of the AKTI-member company, its goals, product lines, and its local and state economic impact. The AKTI-member company will also be positioned as a vital part of a long-standing, viable, and responsible national industry. Current annual industry revenues are projected to be $1.2 billion; total year 2000 economic impact of the U.S. knife and tool industry is projected at more than $7 billion annually. (We will stress “6X Multiplier” – economic experts agree that $1 of revenues and/or wages has $6 of total economic impact as it works its way through the local economy.)
- AKTI will make available appropriate “Position Papers” on various knife-related issues, “Knife Laws” brochures, and current copies of “News & Update” – the AKTI newsletter.
- AKTI will solicit members of this growing industry-supportive legislative network to co- sponsor model legislation as AKTI develops it.
- In return, AKTI and AKTI-member companies will offer support to these legislators. AKTI will also communicate its state and national endorsement of supportive legislators.
AKTI was created to protect YOU! … the responsible U.S. knife supplier and the responsible, law-abiding, knife-using American. And it will do just that with this new Legislative Action Plan.