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RVIA Boosts Federal Profile with Legislative Awards, Advocacy Day

At this year’s Committee Week, RVIA members participated in several activities that boosted the industry’s profile on Capitol Hill, ensured that Congress is aware of the RV industry’s needs, and recognized the work done on the industry’s behalf by members of Congress. Over three days, RVIA presented awards to one senator and two congressmen, made over 40 visits to members of Congress and their staffs, and held a fundraiser for Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon.

RVIA presented its 2009 National Legislative Award to Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) and its 2008 National Leglsiative Award to Representatives Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Mark Souder (R-IN). The RVIA National Legislative Award was established to recognize an individual who has distinguished him or herself in legislative matters pertaining to the RV industry. All three members of Congress were noted by RVIA for being champions of the RV industry, and in particular were thanked for their efforts during the current financial crisis.

Upon receiving his award, Rep. Donnelly said, “The truth is, we are in your debt. Everywhere I go in the state, and in the district, I hear that when RVs do well, we all do well. We owe you a debt for the wonderful things you bring to the nation through RV travel and camping and what you bring as business partners to the community."

Rep. Souder focused on the needs of the manufacturing sector, saying, “The industrial midwest has been carrying the rest of the nation on its back and not getting recognition. We don’t ask for much, but it’s our turn now. I am proud to represent my district – one of the few places in America where people still make things.”

“On behalf of the hard-working Hoosier men and women of Indiana’s RV industry, I am truly honored to receive this award,” said Senator Bayh. “The legislative action we have taken in 2009 to bolster this critical industry in Elkhart County and across Indiana is an example of our ability to make Washington work for Hoosiers, not the other way around. It is critical that we continue to fight to preserve this important industry, which plays such an important role in Indiana’s economy.”

RVIA’s 7th annual Capitol Hill Advocacy Day was held Wednesday, June 10. RVIA members participated in 40 meetings on Capitol Hill, and 9 of those meetings gave RVIA members the chance to meet with Senators or Representatives themselves to discuss issues affecting the RV industry. The Indiana delegation got a bonus this year as they also got to spend some time with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

RVIA Vice President of Government Affairs Dianne Farrell said, “By holding Advocacy Day each year, RVIA members build on the relationships they’ve developed with members of Congress and their staffs. Now that the event has occurred seven years in a row, the relationships that our members have built with Congress are serving us well – especially in the past several difficult months."

On Thursday, June 11, RVIA members held a fundraiser for another RV industry champion, Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR). DeFazio spoke at a breakast reception prior to the RVIA Board meeting, where he upated members on issues critical to the RV industry, including ongoing economic stimulus efforts and the upcoming highway reauthorization legislation, and took questions from attendees.



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