Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) toured the business and talked to Cole about regulatory and policy issues affecting his business including immigration reform, health care reform, the minimum wage and energy use.
Cole, a frequent participant in the Society of American Florists’ Congressional Action Days, initially wondered what good could come of the visit. Kuster, elected to serve the state’s second congressional district in 2013, is a Democrat, and Cole worried she might be “hostile to business.” That turned out not to be the case, he said.
“She did a good job of [persuading] me that she had many of our interests in mind, such as immigration reform,” he explained, adding that Kuster — whose office initiated the visit — sits on the influential House Committee on Agriculture. “We discussed the importance of Specialty Crops Funding. She brought it up before I did.”
The short visit is great news for the floral industry, said Shawn McBurney, SAF’s senior director of government relations.
“Anytime a lawmaker takes the time to visit a business, it’s an opportunity to make a connection and provide that legislator and his or her staff with real world information that they can take back to Washington and reflect on when it comes time to cast an important vote.”
Both the House and Senate are currently in recess until Sept. 5; the break can be an “ideal time” to extend an invitation for a visit or business tour, McBurney added.
For information on how to do just that or to find out more about support materials and issue papers SAF has available for all members, contact McBurney, firstname.lastname@example.org.