Industry Leaders Work the White House, Halls of Congress at OIA’s Capitol Summit

May 10, 2012

Topic: Policy

In mid-April, 43 outdoor industry leaders convened in Washington, D.C., for the Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) Capitol Summit. This annual gathering is an important time for our industry to encourage federal investment in the parks and trails that comprise our national outdoor recreation system, and promote a level playing field for the products we manufacture and sell.

During two days, OIA advanced three industry goals:

  1. Helped build the outdoor industry voice in Washington, D.C., and beyond:
    • Provided messaging to communicate the business value of outdoor recreation to policy makers
    • Continued to build a business coalition that promotes investment in our national outdoor recreation system
    • Boosted the OIA Political Action Committee (OIAPAC) by raising funds and delivering contributions to congressional champions of our public lands and trade agendas, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
  2. Educated the Obama administration and Congress about the importance of the outdoor recreation economy, the jobs we create, and the positive return on federal investment from outdoor recreation and our industry.
  3. Advanced the outdoor industry’s 2012 policy agendas for international trade/business and recreation/public lands.

“Washington is all about the economy and jobs, and our industry has a great story to tell,” said Will Manzer, CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports and OIA board chair, during his opening remarks at the Capitol Summit. “When leaders from our industry sit down with members of Congress, they get it. We need more messengers on message and the summit is the perfect place to build the industry’s army.”

During the event, industry leaders attended 72 meetings, delivering the outdoor industry business message to White House staff, federal agencies that manage international trade and public lands, member of Congress and key congressional staff. Meetings included:

  • White House budget and outreach teams
  • Thirty members of the House and Senate
  • Department of Commerce trade representatives
  • The director of the National Park Service
  • Delivered 2012 Friend of the Outdoor Industry awards to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) 
  • OIAPAC speech by Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), currently a U.S. Senate candidate
  • Keynote address by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who discussed how to use a stronger industry voice to ensure the protection of federal lands and waters

“My first summit reinforced that politics is all about relationships,” said Brigitte Rouleau, vice president of Morsel Munk. “By coming to Washington, contributing to our political action committee, and reaching out at home, we help members of Congress connect with our strong story on the outdoor industry and jobs.”

For more information about the outdoor industry’s international trade and business agendas, contact Alex Boian, OIA’s director of trade policy.

For more information about the industry’s recreation and public lands agendas or the Capitol Summit, contact David Weinstein, OIA’s outreach and advocacy manager.