HARDI's Government & Trade Relations Committee is sponsoring the association's first-ever Congressional Fly-In Day before the start of next spring's Mid-Year Business Conference in Washington, D.C. The Committee has not yet finalized the details but the tentative plan is for interested members to arrive in Washington in late April for an afternoon issue and orientation session, a keynote speaker and a reception the night before a day on Capitol Hill to meet with their House and Senate representatives.

It has become apparent that established relationships with elected officials in Washington are essential to advance and protect the interests of HVACR wholesale distributors. HARDI's first Congressional Fly-In Day will be a vital first step toward making the voices of our member companies and their trade association relevant and regarded on policy debates affecting issues such as energy conservation, environmental protection, taxation, and business regulation and employment laws. The membership is now well-versed in the immediate legislative issues surrounding energy efficiency and refrigerant reclaim, but this Fly-In could have its most significant impact on an issue several years away; that is, the fate of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts scheduled to expire in 2010. It will be too little too late to lobby Capitol Hill in the summer and fall of 2009 if Congress doesn't connect a face and facility to the very businesses such a repeal would harm.

Many experienced and accomplished business owners find themselves nervous and anxious at the prospect of meeting with Senators and Congressmen; however, first and foremost, all members should remember that these elected officials work for YOU. Can you imagine employing someone for years and never introducing yourself or conveying what you expect from them? HARDI will handle all logistics and require of you only your business and industry experience, your time to explain your interests to congressional staffers, and your patience in understanding that this is just the first step on a long path toward strong government relationships.

Look for information on HARDI's Congressional Fly-In and Mid-Year Business Conference, and commit to be a part of it early so you can be sure to meet with all of your representatives. The association encourages all HARDI member executives and/or designees to participate in the Government & Trade Relations Committee. Simply call HARDI headquarters to get involved or e-mail gr@hardinet.org.


Talbot Gee is the vice president of HARDI. Contact him at 614/488-1835 or tgee@hardinet.org.