ABC 2015: Staff relations key in dealings with Congress

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) told the Recreational Boating Leadership Council on Monday to “build relationships with the staff members” of the lawmakers they lobby.
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) told the Recreational Boating Leadership Council on Monday to “build relationships with the staff members” of the lawmakers they lobby.

“Don’t underestimate the role of the staff,” he told the council via conference call during the RBLC’s biannual meeting at the Renaissance Marriott. The meeting was held on the first day of the American Boating Congress.

“It’s all about relationships; the downside is we are limited to these 15-minute segments,” Huizenga said.

He urged industry members to follow up with lawmakers and their staff — even to invite staff members to their businesses. Jeff Gabriel of the National Marine Manufacturers Association said Huizenga has worked on the ethanol issue and supported the industry’s efforts to influence the reauthorization bill for the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. He sits on the House Financial Services Committee.

The NMMA invited Huizenga to call in to the meeting. He took the opportunity to confirm his support of the industry.

“For those in the Great Lakes, we are dependent on having a vibrant recreational boating community,” Huizenga said, adding that he has a strong relationship with Tiara Yachts in Holland, Mich., and is glad to hear that its boatbuilding business is doing well. “People feel better about their economic position and are going out and spending money again.”

The 2nd District of Michigan stretches from Kentwood to the lakeshore and up the coast of Lake Michigan from Holland to Ludington. Huizenga was first elected to Congress in 2010 and is serving his third term.

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