L.E.A.D., Legislative Education Action Day, sponsored by PPAI, is a unique experience. In April, I was able to attend my fourth L.E.A.D. experience. Each year they are similar, yet different. Attending meetings on the “Hill” in Washington, D.C. with your Member Of Congress and/or their staff is an exciting and challenging event.
This year I was again in charge of Team PA (Pennsylvania), and we had 13 scheduled meetings and 10 drop-in meetings. One of the challenges that you face each year is keeping the MOC and their staff in your corner. We have met with several MOCs and staff members from year to year and they remember us. This is what we strive for, them remembering who we are and what we do as well as their stating to us that they will keep on the lookout for legislation that could have a negative effect on the promotional products industry; a small yet meaningful victory for L.E.A.D.
Take the independent contractor issue as an example. Four years ago, very few if anyone even knew what we were referring to. We continue to discuss this issue each year we attend L.E.A.D. This year, after four trips, we came away with both MOCs and staff not only knowing the details of the issue, but now we are able to depend on their support on this issue if it comes up in either chamber. They now understand more about the PP Industry, the large number of small businesses that are it’s makeup and the impact that could result. Another small victory for PPAI.
This year we were invited to a senator’s AM coffee. The senator and staff are there to meet and greet with you and discuss briefly, issues that affect your industry. It is a way for the senator and his staff to meet with many people in a short period of time. We were again able to garner support on industry issues from this meeting.
L.E.A.D. is an event that strengthens your resolve towards the leaders in Washington, D.C. and proves that a small group of individuals can band together, meet with a MOC or staff from almost all 50 states and accomplish something important. We are a small group, which needs to grow, yet a mighty one. The PPI is an $18 billion industry that is slowly making inroads at both the federal and state government levels to ensure the protection of our members.
PPAI supports all of the Regional Associations’ Legislative Committees across the USA and brings them together with other volunteers at L.E.A.D. Even with this we need your help and support. Plan to join PPAI at L.E.A.D. in 2014. Attend an education class at Expo, Expo East, or at your local regional trade show, on government relations, legislative and/ or consumer product safety. This is your industry and it needs your help and support to keep it viable and productive.
Legislative Chairman, TRASA