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Boating caucus meets on industry issues

Members of the Congressional Boating Caucus and their staff gathered this week for a briefing.
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Members of the Congressional Boating Caucus and their staff gathered this week for a briefing on the state of the nation’s recreational boating and fishing industries.

Marine Retailers Association of the Americas president Matt Gruhn joined with leaders of three other industry associations to update lawmakers on key policy issues important to the marine industry.

Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, opened the meetings, which took place in both the House and Senate, with his annual overview of the boating industry.

Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association, followed with an overview of the state of the recreational fishing industry. Gruhn joined Margaret Podlich, president of BoatUS, to answer policy related questions alongside Dammrich and Nussman.

“It was an honor to represent our great industry at this meeting of the Boating Caucus,” Gruhn said in a statement. “We’ve done a lot of great work as a united front in this industry, and it was rewarding to be able to demonstrate that to members of Congress and their staff members.”

Gruhn highlighted several issues this week on Capitol Hill: the marine industry’s technician shortage, quelling the spread of aquatic invasive species and the importance of the Great Lakes region.

Citing the growing shortage of skilled technical workers in the marine industry, Gruhn asked Congress to place a greater emphasis on programs and policies that will improve the boating industry’s technical workforce. Additionally, he noted the importance of the Great Lakes Region to both boating and fishing and made a convincing case for prioritizing the fight against aquatic invasive species in our nation’s waterways.

“Our members and constituents have voiced to us that these issues are of utmost importance to the success of their businesses,” explained Will Higgins, public policy manager for the MRAA. “It’s crucial that we regularly update the folks on Capitol Hill so that lawmakers who have expressed support of the boating industry have a strong working knowledge of our issues, and an understanding of the impact that the business of recreational boating and fishing has on our nation’s economy.”

More than 122 members of Congress belong to the Congressional Boating Congress, which was formed in 1989 to advocate for the political interests of the boating industry.

Interested in taking an active role in political advocacy on behalf of the boating industry? The annual American Boating Congress, taking place this year May 9-11, offers boat dealers, marina owners, and all other friends of recreational boating a chance to gather as an industry and meet with elected leaders on Capitol Hill. Tucker Carlson, anchor of Fox and Friends Weekend, and Paul Begala, political strategist and commentator for CNN, will be joining the lineup for ABC as the 2016 keynote speakers.

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