Washington—Recently, a group of carpet industry executives along with members of the Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce traveled to the nation’s capitol for the Carpet & Rug Institute’s (CRI) annual “Hill Visits and Legislative Reception.”
Designed to give carpet and area business leaders the opportunity to speak directly with lawmakers about pressing issues, the two-day visit saw the delegation visit 25 congressional offices representing a half dozen states and host a reception in the Capitol Visitor’s Center for more than 75 congressional members and their staff.
Jennifer Mendez, CRI’s vice president for government relations, who has made the trip for the past 10 years in addition to her regular travels throughout the year on behalf of the industry, called this visit “immeasurable” on the organization’s blog. “Nothing compares to the relationship-building and networking opportunity of face-to-face meetings with [the nation’s] lawmakers.”
Rick Hooper, chief counsel for Shaw Industries, who made his fourth trip, agreed. “It is important to take the time to advocate for our industry.”
As a lobbyist herself, Mendez added “there is a widespread perception—justified or unjustified—lobbyists only make the trek to the Hill because they have an ‘ask,’ but I assert that is not always the case. Lobbyists are educators. These visits offer the opportunity for our members to educate lawmakers about the issues facing our industry.”
Numerous topics were discussed, from the economy in general to more specific areas such as taxes and regulation on economic recovery for the carpet industry and north Georgia region. Environmental issues, such as energy policies and coal fly ash, were brought up, as were ideas on ways to re-energize the housing market, a crucial component to the industry’s long-term health.
The end result was a positive experience, Hopper said. “Our message was clear and it was delivered. We are working hard to create a better future for our customers, our employees, our companies and our communities.”
For more on CRI, call 706.278.3176.