Congressional Action Days

SAF Congressional Action Days 2017

March 13 – 14, 2017, Washington, D.C.
Conference hotel: Ritz Carlton Pentagon City, Arlington, Virginia


Monday, March 13

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 Shawn McBurney, SAF; 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 – 1:00 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;

Tuesday, March 14

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.


It’s your big day on Capitol Hill. Start with a pep talk from a member of Congress who’ll explain why it’s important for lawmakers to hear from you. Lobbyist trainer Stephanie Vance will be on hand, too, to answer questions you may have.

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 Insurance logoHOSPITALITY SUITE

Sponsored by Hortica Insurance & Employee Benefits
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).


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.


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.


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

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

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