WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attendees are calling this year’s Legislative Action Week, organized by the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) and for which Trade Show Executive was a Gold Sponsor, a resounding success.
The virtual lobbying event for the business events industry, which has been taking place all week, focused on three key priorities: the passage by the Senate of two bills, one for relief for small businesses and the other for the restoration of the Employee Retention Tax Credit; the return of communicable disease coverage as part of event cancellation insurance; and the easing of visa wait times for international business travelers.
“We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, and I don’t think this event has ever been more important,” the ECA’s Head of Government Affairs, Tommy Goodwin, said during a kickoff call on Monday, where he laid the groundwork for how the appointments would go and shared supporting materials with Legislative Action Week participants.
Goodwin was enthusiastic but realistic. “When you do this for a while and keep the cadence going, you start to see results,” he said. “It’s a marathon not a sprint.” Jeff Evans, Directory of Public Policy at ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, encouraged the group of trade show management and business events industry professionals to think of the meetings with Congress not as a privilege, but a right. “This is you exercising your First Amendment rights,” Evans said.
In all, the ECA team organized 85 virtual appointments with members of Congress — everyone from Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, already a strong supporter of the Small Business COVID Relief Act, to others who needed more information and persuasion.
“There is nothing I love more than watching people who are really good at what they do, and this week has been full of that,” participant Emily Scheiderer, Director of Education, Sales & Services for Destinations International, said. “As I met with my elected officials to advocate for changes that are vital to the recovery of our industry, I was empowered by the organization of resources, the political intelligence and the guidance of the ECA team. Leaders like this remind me of how bright the industry’s future is.”
Scheiderer urges all trade show and business event industry professionals to educate themselves on how they can help move the industry forward.
“From providing relief to our small businesses to helping us bring back international exhibitors and attendees, Congress can play an important role in accelerating the comeback of the face-to-face business events industry,” Goodwin said. “That’s why it was wonderful to see so many industry leaders and advocates from coast to coast take part in ECA Legislative Action Week and talk to their elected officials about the role our industry plays in economic growth, job creation and small business support in our communities nationwide.”