AAHOA Hosts Its Congressional Day & Capitol Hill Reception
Thanks to a very strong turnout from members of Congress, and also from AAHOA Board Members, Ambassadors and leaders from around the country, the AAHOA Congressional Day and Capitol Hill Reception was a tremendous success. The event was held on September 9, 2009, in Washington, D.C. The Reception was hosted in the historic and beautiful Senate Russell Building.
In the afternoon, AAHOA Board Members and Ambassadors were separated into teams according to their home states. They attended meetings with Members of Congress and their staff from those states in order to discuss crucial issues affecting the hospitality industry and small businesses throughout the country. Prior to the meetings, the Board Members and Ambassadors attended a training session regarding official AAHOA “Talking Points” that they could use to advocate for our positions when they met with their elected officials. The Talking Points covered important topics such as:
Key facts and statistics about AAHOA and our members;AAHOA’s opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as the Card Check Bill, including details on the compromises to EFCA that are being debated in Congress; AAHOA’s support for the Travel Promotion Act, which was passed in the Senate late in the afternoon on September 9, 2009 after our Congressional appointments; AAHOA’s strong opposition to the health care reform bills; and Other important priorities, including AAHOA’s support for the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009. Those in attendance for the training session also enjoyed a keynote luncheon speech from Becky Norton Dunlap, Vice President of External Relations for the Heritage Foundation, a Washington D.C.-based public policy research institute. Norton, who also served in the Reagan administration, spoke about the importance of AAHOA members and small business owners having a place in the political arena, as well as having their interests and needs directly represented by their elected officials.
On Tuesday, September 8, 2009, which was the first day Congress returned to session after its summer vacation, AAHOA was cited in the Congressional Record of the 111th Congress by Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA). “It was my honor to attend AAHOA's national convention earlier this year, where its members celebrated 20 years of excellence and service to their respective communities…” Royce stated in the record. “Madam Speaker, I am pleased to recognize AAHOA and the Indian American community and look forward to working together in the future.”
“It was a tremendous day for AAHOA and small business owners everywhere,” said Tarun S. Patel, CHA, Chairman of AAHOA. “We came to Capitol Hill so the Members of Congress could meet face to face with honest and hardworking hoteliers whose businesses and livelihoods will be drastically affected by proposed legislation. Not only did we succeed with our goals and receive encouraging feedback during our meetings, but we also celebrated the news of the Senate passing the U.S. Travel Promotion Act.”
“I think we can take pride in the fact that we have done our part to add to the democratic legacy on Capitol Hill,” said Fred Schwartz, President of AAHOA. “This was only the second day that Congress was back in session after the summer and Labor Day break, and it was an opportune time to raise our concerns about several of the important bills that are pending. Our AAHOA leaders were able to speak directly with the lawmakers before any votes were taken on legislation that could have a lasting impact on our hotels and our community for many years to come. This is a time unlike any other in history, and we will continue to build on these relationships as we move forward with our advocacy efforts.”
Members Of Congress Who Attended The Capitol Hill Reception:
Members of Congress who attended the Capitol Hill Reception included Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Congressman Joseph Cao (R-LA), Congressman Howard Coble (R-NC), Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO), Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC), Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL), Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA), Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN), Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC), a staff representative for Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), a staff representative for Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), and Arun K. Singh, Deputy Chief of Mission Ambassador of India to the United States.
Founded in 1989, AAHOA (www.aahoa.com) is the largest hotel owners association in the world, with more than 15,000 small business owner-members. AAHOA members own almost one in every two hotels in the United States.