Geiger Delegates Take Message To Capitol Hill

Posted: April 27th, 2012

PPAI's Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) brought the promotional products industry to Washington, D.C., on March 7-8. During the third annual L.E.A.D., 60 industry members traveled to Capitol Hill to participate in more than 200 meetings with key members of Congress and their staffs.

PPAI members and promotional consultants unable to attend L.E.A.D. also made their voices heard in Washington, D.C. PPAI provided tools for a "virtual fly-in," making it easy for industry professionals to send messages directly to their members of Congress, spread the L.E.A.D. message and track the progress of industry professionals, volunteers and PPAI staff through social media channels.

Using these online advocacy tools, more than 400 advocates from across the country sent almost 1,800 messages to members of Congress during L.E.A.D. The virtual fly-in allowed these industry members to participate in L.E.A.D. from home, voice their concerns regarding independent contractor status and legislation, and educate members of Congress on the value of promotional products.

L.E.A.D. began with the presentation of the PPAI's inaugural Legislator of the Year award to Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA). Presented to Murphy by PPAI Board of Directors Chair Steven Meyer, MAS, during a morning briefing session on March 7, the award recognized Murphy's commitment and support of issues critical to the promotional products industry. George Jackson, owner of George Jackson Promotions, Inc. (UPIC: GJPRO) and a member of the Government Relations Action Council, nominated the Congressman.

"It was very special to have Congressman Murphy join us for the Legislator of the Year Award," says Meyer. "George Jackson deserves many thanks for his hours of work communicating to the Congressman our industry's model and how legislation can impact the thousands of successful small businesses PPAI represents."

L.E.A.D. delegates also paid a visit to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH). PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, joined Mitch Rhodus of HALO Branded Solutions (UPIC: HBS); Dale Limes, MAS, HALO's senior vice president of sales; and Rhodus' son, Brad Rhodus, in Boehner's private offices in the Capitol building to discuss concerns affecting the promotional products industry.

"This was my third year at L.E.A.D." says Limes, "and the legislators and staff actually remembered us this time, which made each appointment more comfortable. For the most part, they seemed to know our industry going in, so it only took some refreshing to bring them up to speed. Most importantly, they understood we were serious about our issues because we have returned year after year to discuss our wants and needs."

T. Neal Munn, MAS, of Rhino Marketing/Geiger (UPIC: geiger), saw similar evidence that continued industry visits to Washington make an impact. Munn says: "My experience with the L.E.A.D. trip was very positive. This is the second year I have attended, and I found the Representatives and their staffs very interested in our concerns. Especially the more experienced staff aides, they knew or were aware of our issues, and if they didn't, they expressed interest in contacting them with additional information. I believe that with additional communication from people in our industry, both suppliers and distributors, that we will be better served on Capitol Hill. PPAI does an excellent job of making this easier for all industry practitioners with their alerts."

During their time in Washington, D.C., L.E.A.D. delegates also met with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to learn more about the forthcoming Green Guides, and with members of the Ways and Means Committee to speak on the role of independent contractors.

"From the beginning of L.E.A.D. until the final wrap up, the 2012 event was a highlight of the year for me," says Meyer. "Members putting their time, energy and money into a trip to speak on behalf of all our members is so special. Paul Bellantone and I talk about the community and credibility of our industry when we visit regionals. For these two days we have 60 or 70 friends with us in D. C. educating others and volunteering to be resources on behalf of all the industry. It's an extraordinary group that I'm proud to be part of."

Original Article - PPAI Publications


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