Boating Industry

April 2016

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Page 21 of 43 22 | Boating Industry | April 2016 T his year's American Boating Congress kicks off May 9 and offers the boating industry a chance to shape the debate in an important election year. As in the past, dozens of industry associations are supporting this year's ABC, with 31 co-hosts, including Boating Industry, as of early March. ABC 2016 will be May 9-11 at the Renaissance Washington D.C. Downtown Hotel. "This is the best opportunity to have your issues and your industry heard on Capitol Hill," said Nicole Vasilaros, vice president of federal and legal affairs at the National Marine Manufac- turers Association, which organizes ABC. "In an election year, it is a prime opportunity to hear from elected offi cials that are running for offi ce, to make sure that they understand the concerns the boating industry has." While the details weren't quite fi nished as we prepared this issue, several successful com- ponents from past shows will be returning, including hill visits, issue briefi ngs and insight from regulatory and elected offi cials. Election year focus ABC 2016 will also have, for the fi rst time, two keynote speakers with the experience to high- light the upcoming presidential election. Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson will offer insight from BY JONATHAN SWEET ABC offers chance to shape policy The boating industry heads to the nation's capital both sides of the aisle, Vasilaros said. "It should be a lively and interesting debate," she said. "The thought was let's bring them both and have them argue it out and discuss what they're seeing and give that inside-the- Beltway knowledge. People come to D.C. in an election year, they want to know, 'Who do you think is going to win the presidency?' or 'Who do you think is going to win the Senate?' That's why we wanted our speakers to have that back- ground to refl ect the questions that we know people are dying to ask." Begala is a Democratic strategist and po- litical contributor for CNN. He was one of the chief strategists on Bill Clinton's 1992 presiden- tial campaign and served in the Clinton admin- istration. He has written several books and is currently an affi liated professor at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute. Carlson is the co-host of Fox News Chan- nel's Fox & Friends Weekend and editor- in-chief of The Daily Caller, a political news website. He has also worked for CNN, MSNBC and PBS, among other media outlets. Carlson and Begala will kick off the line-up of speakers on Wednesday, May 11. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., a member of the Boating Caucus, has also been confi rmed as a speaker. "He's been a great boating and fi shing ad- vocate and instrumental on red snapper issues," Vasilaros said. Other speakers will be similar to past ABCs, which have included senators and House members, Coast Guard offi cials and other policymakers. ABC attendees will also have the oppor- tunity to have visits scheduled with members of the House of Representatives and Senate. In order to make the hill meetings even more benefi cial, this year the ABC team is working to have those visits done by groups with simi- lar regional or state-focused concerns. That will help to make the visits more impactful and allow the elected offi cials and staff to hear more perspectives. ©ISTOCK.COM/CHARGERV8 UPDATE "This is the best opportunity to have your issues and your industry heard on Capitol Hill." — Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA

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