Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) has been selected as the Association’s 2018 Legislator of the Year. The award will be presented during the PPAI Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.), May 16-17 in Washington, D.C.

The award is presented annually to a current member of Congress who has demonstrated a high level of interest in and support of the promotional products industry, its members and their businesses, and pending legislation which could affect the industry and its practitioners.

“PPAI is honored to present the PPAI Legislator of the Year Award to Rep. Upton for his commitment to help grow and strengthen small businesses,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “The Representative’s work in support of issues important to our small business owners and our industry have been essential in helping us grow, protect and advocate for our industry.”

Upton is the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 6th congressional district, serving since 1987. He will receive the award in recognition of a career in public service that has focused on uniting communities by supporting a stronger economy, good-paying jobs, affordable health care, a secure retirement and a fair chance for everyone to succeed. Notably for the promotional products industry, he co-sponsored the Save Local Business Act (HR 3441), which provides clarification to the legal definition of a joint employer under the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act, and he has met with leaders of the Michigan Promotional Professionals Association (MiPPA) for the past three years.

An advocate for small business, Upton has been given a 100 percent rating and named a Guardian of Small Business by the National Federation of Independent Business, which is the largest small-business association in the country. He also joined Google in a “Get Your Business Online” event aimed at helping small businesses develop an online presence as a tool for growth, and he has co-sponsored and supported legislation to alleviate the tax burden on small businesses and opposed regulations that would be burdensome.

In Upton’s home state of Michigan, 97 percent of promotional products companies are small businesses that employ more than 8,000 people and generate revenues of more than $465 million.

The PPAI Legislator of the Year Award is presented as part of L.E.A.D. when PPAI leadership and industry professionals visit Washington, D.C. Now in its ninth year, this year’s event will bring nearly 80 advocates to Capitol Hill to discuss pending legislation and issues relevant to the promotional products industry during more than 200 meetings with senators, congressional representatives and their legislative staffs from all 50 states.

Past recipients of the PPAI Legislator of the Year award are Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) in 2017, Reps. Steven Chabot (R-OH) and Greg Walden (R-OR) in 2016, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in 2015, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) in 2014, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) in 2013 and Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) in 2012.