CDA member distributors from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C. this week for CDA’s annual Day on the Hill event. Members attended dozens of individual meetings with legislators and staff, at what was a busy two days for attendees. “Day on the Hill is our members’ opportunity to speak directly to their congressmen and senators on the key issues that face our industry today," explained Kimberly Bolin, CDA president and CEO. "Developing a relationship is the key, and we are doing that this week."
To the left, Corey Cooper (left), Steven Potts (second from right), and Greg Cross (right) pose for a picture with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK).
Day on the Hill opened Tuesday afternoon with a welcome from Bolin, followed by a prep session held at Washington D.C.'s University Club and led by Shannon Campagna, CDA’s policy advisor. Campagna led the group through a briefing on two core issues, and then went over some tips for effective advocacy and the importance legislators place on in-person visits from their constituents. The session ended with attendees pairing up to lay out strategies and share ideas in preparation for the Hill meetings.
"I feel it is important to see the legislators face-to-face to discuss the concerns of our industry," said Steven Potts, Stephenson Wholesale Co., Durant, OK. "It is good to be aware of the process and see how it works. The scheduling and training provided are extremely easy to attend and informative. I would encourage all to attend."
At this year’s Day on the Hill, attendees were seeking support of two bills. The Drive Safe Act would create a path for more truck drivers under the age of 21 to build a career in trucking, allowing drivers under 21 to operate in interstate commerce via a rigorous two-step apprenticeship program. The Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act would prevent sales of electronic cigarettes to minors by applying the same safeguards already in place for regular cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.
Above, Ted Stessman (left), Farner Bocken Co., a Division of Core-Mark, and Matt Robinson, Standard Distributing Co., prepare for Wednesday's Hill meetings.
Tuesday evening was highlighted by a reception and dinner hosted by Altria Group Distribution Co. at the company’s Washington, D.C. offices. Attendees were welcomed by both Danielle Holloway, Altria’s sr. director, industry engagement, and CDA chair Charlie Casper, Mydad, LLC, dba Hardec’s, Inc. of Elizabethtown, KY. Attendees were treated to an address from Rep. Steve Watkins, a first-term congressman representing Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of advocacy. This is your opportunity to meet one-on-one with legislators and have your voices heard on Capitol Hill," said CDA Chair Charlie Casper, Hardec's, Elizabethtown, KY. "CDA provides everything you need to have a successful meeting, and if you want to share your knowledge of our industry with decision makers of government policy, this is the very best opportunity to educate them.”
Wednesday morning began bright and early with a breakfast for attendees at the Capitol Hill Club, hosted by RAI Trade Marketing Services Co. Bolin welcomed attendees and extended special thanks and recognition to our host and long-time supporter of CDA, Dave Riser, vice president, external relations at RAI. The breakfast ended with a lively address from Chris Stirewalt, digital politics editor for the Fox News Channel, where the topic for the morning was the looming 2020 presidential election.
After breakfast members broke out across Capitol Hill to their meetings with legislators. Meetings stretched well into the afternoon. "Some people can feel intimidated by politics or feel their voice is never heard," said Jodi Buckner, Lyons Specialty Co., Baton Rouge, LA. "CDA has organized this event in such a way that you will feel at ease and walk away knowing your voice has been heard."
"This is one of my favorite activities! It was exciting to witness CDA members in action telling their company stories, and that of the industry utilizing the Economic Impact Study," said Bolin. "These dedicated members represented the industry very well on Capitol Hill."
To the right, Jodi Buckner (left), Lyons Specialty Co., meets with staff from the office of Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA,6).
CDA would like to thank all the 2019 Day on the Hill participants, with special thanks to both Altria Group Distribution Co. and RAI Trade Marketing Services Co. for hosting this great event.
A Special Thanks from CDA to All that Attended Day on the Hill
Atlantic Dominion Distributors
Jon Burklund, Rob Hackett
Jode Bunce, George Main
Farner Bocken Co., a Division of Core-Mark
Lyons Specialty Co.
Standard Distributing Co.
Jimmy Naifeh, Matt Robinson
Stephenson Wholesale Co.
Corey Cooper, Steven Potts, Greg Cross
W.L. Petrey Wholesale Co.
William F. Brockman Co.
The Convenience Distribution Association (CDA) is the trade organization working on behalf of convenience products distributors in the United States. Its distributor members represent more than $92 billion in U.S convenience product sales, serving a wide variety of small retail formats. Associate members include leading convenience product manufacturers, brokers, retailers, suppliers and others allied to the industry.