Boating Industry

April 2016

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April 2016 | Boating Industry | 23 [ ABC Update ] Recognizing that making hill visits can be an intimidating experience for fi rst-timers, ABC will offer several opportunities to get pre- pared this year. Once again, NMMA will host a pre-ABC webinar to go over key issues, but will also offer a more specifi c webinar for new attendees, walk- ing them through the process and giving them more guidance before they get to town. That help will continue in Washington. "Once everybody is in D.C. we'll have a [session] on effective lobbying, going through policies and procedures on Capitol Hill, how to conduct a meeting, what to say," Vasilaros said. New this year, the Tuesday luncheon will be a networking opportunity, but also a chance to prepare for those hill visits. "We'll group everyone together by their hill teams, providing a little more information than in years past," Vasilaros said. "You'll know not only who you're meeting with, but also what committees they sit on, important legislation that we want to make sure you bring up with them, a little more tailored information to your hill meetings." This year's ABC will also refl ect the broader reach of the conference, with more industry groups than ever before getting involved. Most notably, the American Sportfi shing Associa- tion and the Center for Coastal Conservation will be hosting their "fl y-ins" that week as well, bringing their members to D.C. for lobbying and outreach. The groups have long been "strong partners" and co-hosting the events shows the combined strength of the recreational boating and fi shing industries, said Glenn Hughes, ASA's vice presi- dent of industry relations. Key issues for 2016 Introduced last year, the issue briefi ngs proved to be popular and will be back for 2016. Ten- tative topics for those sessions include trade, fi shing, ethanol, the Water Resources Devel- opment Act (WRDA), invasive species, access, workforce development and more. Those same issues will continue to be im- portant as the calendar moves beyond ABC as well. While NMMA is hopeful some of the in- dustry's goals can get accomplished this year, the compressed calendar of an election year al- ways makes things more diffi cult, both before and after November. "A lot is going to depend on the election," Vasilaros said. "They're really only here until June, then a couple of weeks between summer and the election. It will largely depend if a Re- publican or Democrat takes over the White House or what the control of the Senate is going to be for what gets done in a lame duck session." One key issue for the last several years has been ethanol, with NMMA and other industry groups working to reform or repeal the Renew- able Fuel Standard in an effort to keep E15 out of the market. The presidential election and Iowa caucuses have helped focus more attention on the issue this year. "We're really trying to ride that momentum on the issue through this summer," Vasilaros said. "There's a chance that small ethanol re- form changes are possible. A big overhaul of the RFS in an election year … the calendar is shortened and the time is probably not there. … But increased education, some halting of the corn ethanol mandate, those are things that we ABC gives the industry an opportunity to reach elected offi cials and other policymakers. The opening reception offers a chance to network with others in the industry. ELECTION CENTER 2016 The American Boating Congress is a great op- portunity for the industry to get together and work on its key issues, but the advocacy efforts don't end after ABC. BoatPAC – the federal political action com- mittee of NMMA and MRAA – has created Elec- tion Center 2016, an online information source to help inform the industry about election, key issues and advocacy opportunities. Election Center 2016 can be found at

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