American Boating Congress showcased industry on Capitol Hill

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The American Boating Congress brought nearly 250 conferees to Washington, D.C., this year.

The American Boating Congress brought nearly 250 conferees to Washington, D.C., this year.

Organizers of the 2017 American Boating Congress are touting the May 15-17 conference in Washington, D.C., as a success.

The legislative event produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and more than 20 co-hosts drew nearly 250 attendees who gathered on Capitol Hill to meet with elected leaders and champion issues affecting the recreational boating and fishing industries.

Two new members were added to the Congressional Boating Caucus — U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Jim Banks, R-Ind.

“This year’s ABC was one of the largest gatherings of boating and fishing stakeholders on Capitol Hill — we came together as part of our collective interests in promoting and protecting our industry, and as a result demonstrated our impact among key decision makers,” NMMA vice president of federal and legal affairs Nicole Vasilaros said in a statement.

“The positive energy and enthusiasm among attendees was palpable as we committed to working together to make a difference in our industry and met with lawmakers to share our story. We are excited to explore next steps coming out of the Hill visits, and we thank all ABC co-hosts, attendees and sponsors for their dedication and interest in advocacy.”

Core policies, including infrastructure, access, ethanol, workforce development, tax reform and conservation, were the focus of the conference’s new-issue workshops and during Hill visits.

There were 185 meetings on Capitol Hill between members of the marine industry and congressional decision makers, a list that included Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Suzan DelBene, D-Wash.

“NMMA is overwhelmed at the number of organizations across our industry that came together during ABC to educate the nation’s leaders on the significant impact recreational boating and fishing have throughout the U.S.,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said.

“Making a lasting impact through advocacy requires every single voice our industry has to offer, and by joining forces each year our presence has only continued to strengthen ties in Washington, D.C., creating positive change for recreational boating.”

The 2018 American Boating Congress is scheduled for April 30 to May 2.

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