Business Builder

Congressional Action Days


Congressional Action Days 2018

March 12-13, 2018
Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City
Arlington, VA

Congressional Action Days 2019

March 11-12, 2019
Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City
Arlington, VA



Congressional Action Days 2017 Schedule

SAF Congressional Action Days 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.


Speaker: Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post and MSNBC
One of Washington’s most exciting political analysts sets the stage for Congressional Action Days with an objective, insightful and witty look at the high-stakes drama and quirky inner-workings of the nation’s capital. Chris Cillizza’s unique perspective on the White House, the Administration and Congress will point you toward some surprising conclusions about the future trajectory of politics.

9:30 a.m. – Noon


Speakers: Dr. Joe Bischoff and Alice Gomez, Cornerstone Government Affairs; Jim Carter, Emerson; Shawn McBurney, SAF; Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort; and Stephanie Vance, Advocacy Associates
Find out how to talk about the key issues affecting the industry in a way that brings it home to lawmakers and their staff. During this informative session, SAF lobbyists explain the issues we’re taking to Capitol Hill and you also get a hands-on lesson in effective Hill communications from professional lobbyist trainer Stephanie Vance.

Noon – 12:45 p.m.


Meet with attendees from your state or region over lunch so you can talk about the best way to tell the industry’s story during your congressional appointments.

1:15 – 3:30 p.m


Enjoy an afternoon of networking with fellow attendees — while having some fun immersing yourself in the real lives of clandestine intelligence professionals at the International Spy Museum. It is the only museum in the world offering a global perspective on an all-but-invisible profession that has shaped history and continues to have a significant impact on world events. Within its fascinating, interactive exhibits, you’ll find the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display — many for the very first time.

6:00 – 9:30 p.m.


Speaker: Andrew Och, “The First Ladies Man”
From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama, “each of our first ladies has been unusual for her time,” says award-winning TV producer and historian Andrew Och. He crisscrossed the nation for more than a year to discover and document the untold lives of these extraordinary women for his acclaimed CSPAN series “First Ladies: Influence and Image.” Join him at the SAFPAC Dinner for a fascinating look at this unique sisterhood of amazing individuals who helped shape our nation.


SAF’s Political Action Committee, SAFPAC, supports our lobbying efforts and brings visibility to the floral industry by contributing to the campaigns of federal candidates. To learn more, contact Drew Gruenburg at 703-838-5229; dgruenburg@safnow.org.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.


Jessica Summers, Paley Rothman
What lies ahead? Business attorney Jessica Summers monitors legislative and regulatory developments. She’ll take a close look at the future of small business during the Trump administration.

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Your time to shine!

This is your chance to tell lawmakers about how laws and regulations affect your business. Wear comfy dress shoes, and we’ll give you a wearable flower and take you to Capitol Hill to visit congressional offices as part of your state or regional delegation.

New to “lobbying?”
SAF has you covered. We’ll match you up with a “veteran” attendee or SAF staff member who’ll be with you every step of the way on Capitol Hill.
As you talk about what’s important to your business, you’ll also
EXPAND awareness of the floral industry
BUILD support for our most critical issues
STRENGTHEN our foundation for future generations!

10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

hortica - a brand of the sentry insurance groupHOSPITALITY SUITE

Sponsored by Hortica 
In between appointments, the Capitol Hill Club is your home base. Stop by the hospitality suite to grab lunch or a snack, check in with fellow attendees, and send thank-you messages to lawmakers and staff you visited. While you’re there, take a moment to share your experience @safcad on Facebook and Twitter.

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.


The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City
Gather with fellow attendees to unwind, share experiences and frame the events of a very busy day with fascinating personal perspective.



Dr. Joe Bischoff

Dr. Joe Bischoff is one of SAF’s lobbyists with Cornerstone Government Affairs, a firm specializing in government relations, strategic consulting and advocacy. He joined the agriculture and natural resources team at Cornerstone Government Affairs following his work in government and regulatory affairs for the horticulture industry where he focused on the intersection of federal programs and science-based solutions to plant health and crop production challenges. Dr. Bischoff has served on a number of scientific committees and review panels including the National Invasive Species Council’s Invasive Species Advisory Committee (ISAC), National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Previously, Dr. Bischoff was with the USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) where he was National Mycologist and Lead Scientist on the APHIS Intercepted Plant Pathogen Sequence Initiative (IPPSI).

Tax expert Jim Carter will explain tax reform during the Issues and Advocacy Training session at SAF’s 37th Annual Congressional Action Days.

Jim Carter

Jim Carter, vice president of government affairs at Emerson, a diversified global manufacturing and technology company based in St. Louis, Missouri. His lobbying portfolio ranges from tax and fiscal policy to international trade and federal regulation. He served as tax reform adviser on the Trump Transition Team, and he served as the associate director of the National Economic Council in the White House, deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury and deputy undersecretary of Labor in the Bush Administration; as a senior economist on the Senate Budget Committee, and as a policy adviser to former Senators John Ashcroft, Sam Brownback, and Connie Mack.


Chris Cillizza

By uniquely viewing politics as a “theatre,” or an endless drama of opposing forces, Chris Cillizza now stands as one of Washington’s most exciting analysts of campaign politics. With both humor and probing insight, the self-described political junkie speaks to a variety of audiences with great clarity on the nuances of national and local campaign politics. His extensive media appearances, spanning from TV to print to the blogosphere, have led The Washingtonian to name him one of the top 50 journalists working in Washington today. Cillizza seamlessly uses his immense reservoir of political knowledge to examine the past and provide insights on the constantly evolving state of Washington politics. His commentary additionally explores the meaning of the current presidency with prodigious depth and a discerning eye for future political trends.


Alice Gomez

Alice Gomez is one of SAF’s lobbyists with Cornerstone Government Affairs. She represents producer organizations, commodity research and promotion programs, food manufacturers, and distributors on issues related to the marketing of agricultural products, international trade, and nutrition. She advises checkoff programs on compliance with federal statutes and regulations, drafts and reviews contracts, and assists in developing client information for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as it provides oversight of checkoff program activities.


Shawn McBurney

Shawn McBurney is a lobbyist and joined SAF in 2015 as senior director of government relations. He represents the floral industry on Capitol Hill on issues that impact the broader SAF membership, such as health care, immigration reform, taxes, minimum wage, overtime and other labor issues. McBurney has worked in the government relations arena since 1993 with positions on Capitol Hill, in the federal government, a non-profit and a trade association.


Andrew Och

Andrew Och is an award-winning television and multi-media producer who has traveled the world with his pen, paper and camera. A storyteller from a young age, Och enjoys the art of communication, and will go anywhere in the world for more knowledge, greater understanding and a good story. For the C-SPAN series, “First Ladies: Influence and Image,” Och spent over a year traveling to nearly every location that helped tell the stories of every First Lady of the United States. He covered Martha Washington through Michelle Obama. Historians, archivists and enthusiasts agree: Och’s project and travels put him in a small and rare group of people. He is responsible for one of the most complete and vast collections of material and information about this unique sorority of women ever assembled. He is the First Ladies Man, and he is excited to share the stories of his adventures. Och is the author of Unusual For Their Time.

Craig Regelbrugge

Craig Regelbrugge

Craig Regelbrugge is the senior vice president of industry advocacy and research at AmericanHort. He serves in several national leadership positions representing the horticulture industry on matters relating to the labor force, plant health and trade. He is a frequent presenter, author and spokesperson on topics relating to the workforce and immigration, production, trade, and environmental issues impacting farmers and small businesses in and serving the horticulture industry.

Jessica Summers

Jessica Summers

Jessica Summers is an associate in Paley Rothman’s Employee Benefits, Employment Law, Retirement Plans, Litigation and Government Relations practice groups. She works with companies and organizations on a range of matters, including establishing and implementing effective employment policies, drafting employment agreements, maintaining employee benefit plans, addressing corporate planning issues and monitoring and advising clients on legislative and regulatory developments.


Stephanie Vance

Professional lobbyist trainer Stephanie Vance founded Advocacy Associates, LLC, to help individual citizens fulfill their right to be heard by their lawmakers. She’s been a lobbyist, congressional aid, legislative director and chief of staff on Capitol Hill and builds that first-hand expertise into fast, funny training scenarios to help her audience prepare for whatever comes their way on The Hill. Vance’s lively, interactive programs are always full of fresh practical advice. Her sessions always earn top marks from CAD veterans and first timers alike.

Conference Hotel and Travel Info

SAFCAD_hotel_Ritz_PentagonCityCAD Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City

1250 South Hayes Street
Arlington, VA 22202

CAD Hotel Room Rates and Reservations

The SAF rate is $229 single/double per night plus local tax. To reserve your room, please call the hotel at 703-415-5000 and ask for the SAF Congressional Action Days room block. The cut-off date for guaranteeing the SAF room rate is Feb. 17. Please make your reservations early. Some restrictions on cancellation may apply.

Airport Transportation to the CAD Hotel 

A taxicab can take you to the CAD hotel, which is a 4-minute drive from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Another option is to take the Metro subway. DCA is one stop from the CAD hotel at Pentagon City on the Yellow or Blue Lines. If you require transportation assistance, please call the hotel’s Concierge Services at 703-415-5000.

CAD Hotel is Sold-Out on Sunday Night, March 12, 2017

The CAD hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, is sold out on the night of Sunday, March 12. There are several other hotels nearby:

Hampton Inn Suites Reagan National Airport is 0.9 mile from the CAD hotel. It includes a free airport and Metro station shuttle service.

Westin Crystal City is 0.8 mile from the CAD hotel. It is also 1 Metro stop from the CAD hotel.

Embassy Suites Crystal City National Airport is 0.6 mile from the CAD hotel. It features a complimentary DCA airport, Pentagon City Metro and Crystal City-area shuttle.

Marriott Crystal City is 0.5 mile from the CAD hotel. It is also 0.1 mile from the Crystal City Metro, which is one stop from the CAD hotel.

Marriott Crystal Gateway is 1.2 miles from the CAD hotel. It is also 1 Metro stop from the CAD hotel.

Registration Info

Register Now

Your low registration fee includes:

  • Breakfast and lunch on Monday and Tuesday
  • Monday’s bus transportation to and from the International Spy Museum and admission
  • Tuesday’s Hospitality Suite
  • Tuesday’s Day’s End Reception
  • Bus transportation from the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City to Capitol Hill on Tuesday

Registration Fees

Early Bird (before Feb. 21)
SAF Member $295
Non-Member $395

Regular (after Feb. 21)
SAF Member $350
Non-Member $450

Bring a first-timer with you – for FREE!

Your registration includes an additional FREE registration* for a second person from your company who has never attended CAD before. Just submit a separate registration form and check the box under “Fees.”

* Second registration must be a first-time attendee. Offer not available online.


SAF Congressional Action Days 2017 is underwritten by:

sponsor bloomnet
Sponsors CAL Flowers
sponsor FTD
sponsor Teleflora

2017 © Society of American Florists