Asking Congress to keep flowers affordable, protect floriculture’s workforce and invest in floral research is what 119 retailers, growers, wholesalers and suppliers from 30 states, the District of Columbia, Mexico and Colombia will do on behalf of the floral industry as part of the Society of American Florists’ 37th Annual Congressional Action Days, March 13 to 14.
CAD attendees — including 35 first timers — will go to Capitol Hill to inform lawmakers about three key issues impacting floral businesses: tax reform, immigration reform, and the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative.
“CAD participants will receive detailed briefings on these issues, along with clear talking points and defined ‘asks’ for their congressional meetings,” said Shawn McBurney, SAF’s senior director of government relations.
What will attendees be asking their legislators to do? Here’s a run of each of the issues:
- Tax Reform/Border Adjustment Tax: Support comprehensive tax reform by simplifying the tax code and reducing rates, but exclude imported floral agricultural products from a border adjustment tax. Click here for details, and here for SAF Senior Director of Government Relations Shawn McBurney’s 30-second recap of the issue.
- Immigration Reform for Agriculture. Oppose stand-alone mandatory E-Verify legislation, including S.179, the “Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act,” which would cripple our agricultural economy. Support true reform which includes enforcing immigration laws at the border, improving verification of employment authorization and creating an acceptable agricultural workforce development program. Click here for details, and here for McBurney’s video recap.
- The Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative. Include a $250,000 increase for the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative in their formal requests to the Appropriations Committees. Click here for details, and here for the video recap.
Past and first-time attendees are looking forward to telling their business stories and participating in the legislative process. This year, for example, marks the first CAD for Molly Meulenbroek of Studley’s Flower Garden in Rochester, New Hampshire.
“I am particularly looking forward to meeting the congressional delegation from my state,” Meulenbroek said. “It is exciting that both senators and legislators are women. This is a great opportunity to see firsthand how things are being shaped and influenced.”
Troy Lucht of Plant Source International & Malmborg ‘s Inc. in Rogers, Minnesota, has attended CAD several years.
“I believe this is a time of incredible change in how our government operates and how government interacts in our lives — both individually as well as our businesses,” Lucht said. “We have the best chance in decades to make some significant progress toward solutions, rather than the continual dialogue and political positioning to which we have all become accustomed.”
Register now for CAD at safnow.org/cad. Follow #safcad on social media to see CAD updates from attendees and SAF.