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MRAA hires Washington lobbyist

The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas tapped Washington, D.C., veteran Will Higgins to lobby for the group on Capitol Hill.

Higgins most recently worked for the legislative monitor Stateside Associates and he has been tapped by the National Marine Manufacturers Association for years to monitor state-level boating activities, MRAA president Matt Gruhn said.

Higgins began working for the MRAA on Feb. 16.

“He’s a rock star and he’s well-versed in boating-related issues,” Gruhn told Trade Only Today. “His family owns a boat in Florida. He’s going to be great.”

Longtime MRAA lobbyist Larry Innis departed at the end of 2014, Gruhn said. “The respect we have for his contributions and our appreciation for what he contributed to this industry is very high,” he said.

Higgins will occupy the same office on Capitol Hill as lobbyists for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, although he remains a separate entity that reports directly to the MRAA, Gruhn said.

NMMA president Thom Dammrich offered the space to Higgins in an effort to better get the dealer perspective in the manufacturing world, Gruhn said.

“Thom said, ‘It would be great for us to have that dealer perspective, and it will be great for you to have this immediate connectivity with the legislative staff here,’ ” Gruhn said.

“It’s leading us to a whole bunch of things that we’re looking at doing together to strengthen our industry’s advocacy work,” he said.

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