Members of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recently seized the opportunity to lobby their legislators at AHRI’s annual Public Policy Symposium in Washington, D.C. From atop the Hay-Adams hotel overlooking the White House, attendees took in presentations and discussed the regulatory and legislative issues affecting the industry before heading to Capitol Hill, where they interacted directly with members of Congress.

“AHRI’s Public Policy Symposium is our annual grassroots advocacy event,” said Cade Clark, vice president of public affairs, AHRI. “Each year, we welcome participants from our member companies to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers, congressional staff, and agency officials.”

“More than 100 people attended our reception at the Top of the Hay, at the Hay-Adams Hotel,” said Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of AHRI. “We were very pleased with this year’s event, and [we] had the opportunity to mingle with more congressional staff than usual, thanks to our partnership with POLITICO Pro.”

The first day of the symposium included a keynote address by Fox News policy analyst Juan Williams, who provided his perspective on the current state of politics in America. The event also featured a discussion panel with former Virginia Gov. George Allen and former Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., who together provided tips and insights on how members can better illustrate their regulatory issues to federal agencies, as well as presentations from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Purple Strategies, which forecast the upcoming midterm elections.

“The panel discussions gave our members a broad overview of the challenges and issues affecting Congress and other federal agencies,” Clark said. “The regulatory burden panel featuring former Sen. Lincoln and former Gov. George Allen was especially insightful and well-received.”

The second and final day featured briefings from members of Congress and concluded with more than 40 AHRI-coordinated visits with senators, representatives, and congressional staff, in addition to other attendee-scheduled meetings.

“The symposium is intended to expand the industry’s outreach beyond our Government Affairs Committee … and is a great opportunity for AHRI staff to share the association’s policy priorities with our broad membership and energize them to share these issues with their congressmen and senators,” Clark said. “The 90-plus manufacturers that descended on the Capitol highlighted their concerns with duplicative DOE product testing and unnecessarily burdensome federal regulations while having the chance to establish contacts with the congressmen and senators themselves.”

Yurek said AHRI prides itself on keeping its members informed on policy issues through the organization’s Policy Brief newsletter as well as via AHRI’s website.

“Individuals from our member companies are the most effective voice we have with legislators,” Yurek said. “We rely on them to carry the message about the important impact their products have on home and building efficiency, as well as the many jobs we create and sustain in the U.S.”

Information courtesy of AHRI ( Legislation Editor Jen Anesi contributed to this report.

Publication date: 4/21/2014 

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