FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Keith Vincent
PPAI LEAD EVENT CREATES AWARENESS, BUILDS RELATIONSHIPS WITH LAWMAKERS
Irving, Texas, (April 5, 2010) Industry leaders and staff from Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) fanned out across Capitol Hill last week in an organized effort to discuss pending legislation relating to the promotional products industry.
LEAD, the Legislative Education and Action Day, was held March 23-24 in Washington, D.C. and was organized to allow promotional products professionals the chance to educate Congress on industry-critical issues as well as the power, impact and job-generating value of promotional products. The event included visits to more than 60 offices of Senate and House members from 19 states.
On March 23, industry leaders met in Washington, D.C., to review key issues, legislative trends and meeting guidelines and on March 24, those same leaders visited Capitol Hill to meet face-to-face with lawmakers and their staff members.
"The members who attended went back home very satisfied, enthusiastic and pleased with their meetings," said Steve Slagle, CAE, president and CEO of PPAI.. "I believe we had some quality discussions, made our points and gained some friends and supporters for our industry."
Issues discussed included the outcome of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) plus other bills of interest to the industry including S. 803, the Healthy Workforce Act of 2009, which could affect incentive sales, and H.R. 3408 (S. 2882), which would change the rules on the status of independent contractors.
"We reinforced awareness of our industry and its representation of thousands of companies, tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars," said Slagle. "From our experience this year I believe we’ll want to continue these efforts at least annually."
Scott Siegel, MAS, president of R.S. Owens & Co. and chairman of the PPAI Board of Directors, and Marc Simon, chief executive officer of HALO/Lee Wayne, met with two Senate and three House offices from Illinois. In addition, Siegel and former PPAI board chairman Sherri Lennarson, MAS, also had a face-to-face meeting with Sen. Harkin of Iowa.
"The first thing we did was make the point that promotional products are not a gift but a proven, successful advertising medium," said Siegel. "We pointed out what they had in their office everything from coffee mugs and note pads to stress balls, pens and pencils that were promotional products."
In addition to educating the staff on the promotional products industry, the group discussed the importance of the safe harbor clause to the industry in upcoming independent contractor legislation. They also showed support for the $400 per person exclusion from taxation to use promotional products to promote wellness programs in the upcoming Healthy Workforce Act.
David Gephart, CAS, chief executive officer of Gephart Marketing Solutions managed to hit seven Congressional offices from North and South Carolina and have meetings with nine legislative staff members, running from offices on the north side of the Capitol building to the south side.
"Basically, they were thrilled to death to have a chance to talk about anything besides healthcare," said Gephart. "They were very open to our point of view and everybody was taking copious notes. They said they would share the information at their staff meetings."
PPAI provided Gephart with four position papers on different issues, complete with bill numbers, that will affect the industry, he says.
"It was target lobbying," he said. "They were able to see exactly where we stood on what issues and its effect. The folks in Texas had us well prepared."
Anne Lardner, PPAI senior manager of public affairs says she and the group are ready to bring the fight back to Washington next year.
"The end of the day brought sore feet but a sense of enthusiasm and empowerment to all LEADers who are already looking forward to doing this again next year," said Lardner. "We need to continue relentlessly advocating for issues important to our industry. Every PPAI member has a local Congressional office they can visit and we will provide you with the tools you need for a successful meeting. Follow PPAI law alerts for what you can do. These measures are only successful when our position is put in front of them on a day-to-day basis."
To get industry statistics and PPAI’s position papers on upcoming legislation, go to www.ppailaw.org.
For more information about Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) or to learn more about the proven power of promotional products (including research and case studies), visit the PPAI website at www.ppai.org or contact PPAI at 972-258-3040 or PR@ppai.org.