The Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance’s Legislative Action Day in the US is fast approaching and Stephanie Selesnick asked Tommy Goodwin, vice-president of ECA, the business events lobbying arm which is made up of 10 industry associations including SISO, IAEE, UFI and PCMA, to explain what is involved in this key industry lobbying day in the US.
Presently there are over 60 registrants from 22 different US States participating on 1 June in Washington, DC, which is a great start, but more are needed. If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit with Congress in the US, this is the way to show your support for our industry by explaining what we do and how it effects commerce within our states, regions, and country.
As someone who interned for a Congressman in DC, and as the former lobbyist for my university years ago, I can tell you it’s also a lot of fun.
The ECA Legislative Action Day on 1 June begins at 8am with breakfast and participants will be seated with their state delegations (also a great networking opportunity). The kick-off session will review the “asks” of legislators:
- Visa wait times. In some countries, there’s more than an 18-month wait for US visas which is impacting many of our shows.
- Working with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on scammers. Those horrible “attendee lists” emails and fake hotel sites are still operating in a legal grey area. We’re lobbying to have assistance by legislators to get a rule made by the FTC to make those operations illegal.
- The workforce problem. It’s been a long time since Congress tackled education and workforce policy, especially for non-four university career paths.
Exhibitions depend on stable, educated workers who can learn a trade at 2-year colleges, vocational schools and even apprenticeships. These workers have great middle-class jobs available along with a pathway for future career success.
Following our briefing on policy issues, participants will learn lobbying best practices from a power panel of former legislative staffers from both sides of the aisle. They’ll share nuances on effectively communicating with Congress members.
Lastly, we’ll receive more ‘nuts and bolts’ about the rest of the day and board buses to Capitol Hill. Lunch will be in one of the Congressional cafeterias (better than it sounds) and the day ends with a reception at Bullfeathers at 4pm. Bullfeathers is a longtime staple on the Hill for legislators and lobbyists alike.
Participants will receive their schedules a couple of days before the event.