Even as the partial government shutdown continues, floral industry members are preparing to make their case to lawmakers this spring.
“Make YOUR Business the Hill’s Business” is the floral industry’s call to action for the Society of American Florists’ 39th annual Congressional Action Days, March 11-12, in Washington, D.C. The more members who join in the process, the more effective the message.
“It’s easy to get caught up in thinking that issues affecting your small business can’t possibly matter to busy government leaders, but the collective number of voices that come together grab their attention,” said Brian Kusuda of Jimmy’s Flowers and JFS Wholesale in Ogden and Layton, Utah, who lobbied for the first time last year.
“As a non-political person, I was very nervous, but SAF took that worry away by preparing me with talking points and telling me what to expect,” he added.
Seeing “so many people from so many organizations and segments of the industry” further bolstered his confidence.
Veteran participant Cheryl Denham of Arizona Family Florist in Phoenix pointed to recent achievements, such as increasing funding for the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative, as evidence that persistence, dedication and passion pay off. “We cannot stop the momentum,” she said. “Nothing gets accomplished with complacency. We live and breathe our challenges every day and we need to educate our leaders. Without our stories, many are oblivious to how the floral industry works.”
Both Kusuda and Denham described the trip to Capitol Hill as an invaluable investment of their time.
“There never seems to be enough hours to put out all the fires we encounter day-to-day, let alone try to adjust to the rapid changes in the retail world,” Kusuda said. “Still, taking a weekend to speak with state representatives goes so much farther than you can predict. They do care about small business owners’ concerns. They do listen.”
For details and to register for CAD, visit safnow.org/congressional-action-days.
Katie Hendrick Vincent is the senior contributing editor for the Society of American Florists.