The National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference is set for March 28-29, 2017 in our Nation’s Capital at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. It is with great pride that I have accepted our 2017 LRA Chair Greg Reggio’s request to serve “State Whip” for this important industry event. If you have not visited Washington D.C. before the entire Capitol complex and National Mall are full of historic sites, museums and places of interest. Taking a day early or after the conference to enjoy the many things Washington offers is always fun.
Advocacy is a vital component to advance the interests of the restaurant industry. While the political tides seem to have shifted in our favor, there is much needed work to be done to improve the business and regulatory climate for our restaurants. Your attendance at this event and sharing your business concerns and issues with our Congressional Delegation has a powerful impact. The focus of the LRA and NRA is to build our industry’s influence and image by the expansion of our members’ engagement.
This two-day event begins on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 28 with a keynote address followed by breakout sessions and issue panels to get you up to speed on the key issues facing our industry. That evening, we celebrate our industry’s great philanthropic efforts recognizing the winners of the NRA’s Restaurant Neighbor and Faces of Diversity awards.
On Wednesday, March 29, we have a jam packed day that begins with a breakfast speaker (last year was Senator Lindsey Graham, previous speakers included Senator John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner) and then we board buses to head to Capitol Hill to meet our Congressional and Senate delegation. That evening, our LRA guests will dine together at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab at the corner of 15th and H Streets. This will be our third year at Joe’s and it has become a favorite of our Congressional delegation as well. Last year Majority Whip Scalise, Congressmen Richmond, Graves, Fleming and Abraham joined our group for part of the evening, some staying until the end of the night. It is a great way to cap off the Conference experience.
If you have attended the Conference in the past, you are aware of how our Hill visits are organized, but for those of you who will be joining us this year for the first time, I’d like to share it with you.
Due to the time constraints, size of our group and location of the congressional and senate offices, an individual itinerary is created for each LRA attendee to direct you to those meetings we would like you to attend. Our best impact is when we have constituents of each Congressional district join us with their Congressman. We try to accommodate every request and we hope to have good representation at all meetings. But their office space and time limits make it a challenge. Most of our Delegation is accommodating to a fault, but Hill votes or committee meetings can cause the schedule to change without notice.
For each meeting, a member spokesperson is selected to represent the group and “make the ask(s).” These are the issues that we are presenting to the Congressman or Senator specific to our industry. It could be asking them to support, co-sponsor or oppose a specific piece of legislation. Our LRA member spokespeople attend the breakout sessions and issue panels and also meet with the LRA staff to review the talking points in advance of the visits to ensure they understand the issues that we will discuss with the Congressmen and Senators. And we try to have an LRA senior staff member present for all of the Hill visits.
To register, click here.
I’ll see you in D.C.!
2017 State Whip, NRA Public Affairs Conference
Drago's Seafood Restaurant, Metairie, New Orleans, Jackson
Ps. Have questions? Call Danielle at (504) 454-2277 or e-mail email@example.com.