Outdoor Goes to Washington: Highlights from the 2014 Capitol Summit

April 16, 2014

Last week, representatives from more than 50 OIA member companies converged on Washington, DC to elevate the outdoor industry’s issues to the highest levels of the U.S. federal government at OIA’s 21st annual Capitol Summit. In two days of Hill visits, OIA members split into lobby teams and met with nearly 70 offices in the House and Senate.

Recreation lobby teams focused on communicating support for:

  • funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund,
  • passing a Wildfire Disaster Funding Relief act (to avoid depleting funding from the Department of the Interior and United States Forest Service), and
  • supporting the National Park Centennial (by providing funding to eliminate the maintenance backlog by the NPS’s 100th anniversary in 2016).

Trade lobby teams focused on:

  • addressing meaningful tariff relief for outdoor businesses, and
  • the outdoor industry’s commerce interests in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.

“In the coming days and weeks,” said Kirk Bailey, Vice President of Government Affairs for OIA, “Our staff will follow up with legislators to build on the important work of the outdoor lobby teams. We will be seeking specific co-sponsorships and continue to seek and consolidate support for the industry’s priorities.”

The Capitol Summit is an annual event that brings together representatives from across the outdoor industry to meet with legislators in both the House and Senate. Summit speakers included:

  • Mike Boots, Acting Director for the Council for Environmental Quality, who highlighted the importance of the outdoor industry’s ongoing Congressional funding and legislative requests in support of public lands and outdoor recreation; and
  • Pollster Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies, who discussed the political forecast for the 2014 elections.

The Summit is also a time for OIA members to meet with and strengthen ties with partners and friends from non-profits, as well as representatives from government agencies.

It is important for OIA to strengthen relationships on the ground in Washington, DC as we build our presence and therefore the industry’s impact in DC. These partners are crucial to our success in raising the profile of our industry’s legislative and policy asks, especially regarding the outdoor recreation economy.

Special Thanks to OIA Summit Sponsors & Attendees

OIA would like to thank our attendees for taking time to join us to represent outdoor businesses, employees, and industry to members of Congress. OIA is especially appreciative off the sponsorship support from REI, Woolrich, W.L. Gore & Associates, Columbia, and Osprey and in-kind contributions from Polar Bottle, Eagle Creek, and GoodOnYa Bar that make the Summit possible.

Thank you all for making this event a success, and we hope to see even more outdoor industry representation before Congress at the 2015 Summit!

OIA Recognizes Industry Veteran Michael Collins with Chairman’s Award at 2014 Capitol Summit

Michael Collins, the former vice president of public affairs for REI, received the prestigious OIA Chairman’s Award during the Capitol Summit. The award was presented by OIA board chair, Jennifer Mull and the evening included a surprise appearance by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

“Mike has been an invaluable industry advisor and leader,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, President and CEO, Outdoor Industry Association. “Mike helped build OIA’s reputation in Washington D.C. and represented the industry in high profile initiatives such as Secretary Kempthorne’s Centennial Challenge Initiative, The Western Governors Association Recreation Task Force and Outdoor Alliance for Kids. More importantly, he played a key role in crafting and funding the national economic argument for the outdoor industry that has resulted in OIA’s two national recreation economy reports and increased recognition from policymakers nationwide of the true value of outdoor recreation.”

The OIA Chairman’s Award is granted to individuals who have provided exemplary contributions to the outdoor industry. Rarely presented, the Chairman’s Award is given to an OIA member who demonstrates unprecedented leadership, commitment and inspiration during service by the OIA Board of Directors.

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