By: Steven Harris, Director, Policy Development and Regulatory Compliance, Food Marketing Institute
We recently finished the first quarter of 2019, which included three months of the new 116thCongress with one of the youngest and most diverse freshmen classes in recent memory. As a result of the 2018 elections, there are now close to 100 new lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate. Including the respective staff members of these new offices, we are looking at hundreds of new faces walking around the halls of Congress, many of whom are likely not as familiar with the workings of the supermarket industry as we would like, which is why now is an important and very relevant time to visit Washington to help introduce them to the industry.
In just two weeks, FMI will be hosting dozens of its grocery members for its annual Day in Washington fly-in, during which food retail executives will be on Capitol Hill meeting with their members of Congress. We have well over one hundred appointments scheduled so far and have strong participation from the CEOs and executive teams of many of our member companies. This year, our main policy focus will be on tax policy and payments security. Our most effective advocacy strategy for educating congressional offices on these important topics is to let them hear directly from our members; to hear first-hand how certain policy decisions will affect their business operations, such as how a drafting error in the tax reform law has prevented companies from making important investments. Or how the U.S. payments system, with its growing threat of fraud, is in critical need of reform.
We look forward to seeing many of our members in Washington later this month, and we expect to have a productive fly-in event on behalf of the industry.
FMI Advocacy App
We encourage everyone to download the FMI Advocacy App, even if you are not attending Day in Washington. The app will have event schedules, issue talking points, congressional appointment schedules and other helpful tools for your time on Capitol Hill. Search for “FMI Advocacy” on either the Apple App Store or on Google Play to download the app. The congressional directory also includes a full list of lawmakers, their contact information and committee assignments, which is a useful tool for advocacy both in and outside Washington.