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Connecting with Congress

(From left) VMTA president Jimmy Mackie, Rep. Rob Wittman, AMI legislative coordinator Eric Kretsch, and Midwest Marina Association president Rick Chapman.

(From left) VMTA president Jimmy Mackie, Rep. Rob Wittman, AMI legislative coordinator Eric Kretsch, and Midwest Marina Association president Rick Chapman.

The Association of Marina Industries held its first ever Congressional Briefing to highlight the impact of upcoming legislation on working waterfronts and the marina industry. The briefing, held in partnership with the National Working Waterfronts Network, included more than 65 staffers and media members, according to AMI.

The event opened with Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., who is considered a supporter of the marine industry and resources, speaking about the importance of recognizing the impact of climate change on maritime businesses. (Wittman’s office sponsored the event.)

A panel discussion addressed the economic and social significance of working waterfronts and marinas. Rick Chapman — an AMI board member, general manager of Sunnyside Marina in Minnesota and Midwest Marina Association president — joined Virginia-based Regatta Point Yachting Center general manager Jimmy Mackie on the panel. Mackie also is president of the Virginia Marine Trades Association.

“As a business manager, I feel it's incredibly important to share my story with those making policy on Capitol Hill so that they understand the impacts their decisions have,” Chapman said in a statement.

Wittman spoke about working waterfronts and marinas.

Wittman spoke about working waterfronts and marinas.

AMI estimates that 11,500 U.S. marinas produce an economic impact of $18.1 billion, supporting 105,000 jobs.

“It's important that the boating industry, working waterfronts and the marina industry have a say in any major infrastructure legislation,” Kretsch said.

The briefing focused on water infrastructure and the resilience of waterfront businesses, highlighting the importance of the Water Resources Development Act and Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund reauthorization as conduits to benefit waterfront businesses and the marina industry.

Eric Kretsch, AMI legislative and outreach coordinator.

Eric Kretsch, AMI legislative and outreach coordinator.

AMI worked to build its legislative recognition in Washington, D.C., working with partners the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, and BoatUS.

AMI also contracted with LobbyIt.com to independently track legislation specific to marinas and boatyards.

“AMI believes that marinas are an important part of the boating industry,” Kretsch said. “AMI's working to make sure that part of the industry is heard.”

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