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Advocacy in Action: CDA Members Advocate for Industry Interests at Day on the Hill 2024

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Advocacy in Action:
CDA Members Advocate for Industry Interests at Day on the Hill 2024

Above, attendees pose at the Altria offices in D.C. after dinner, hosted by Altria Group Distribution Co.

VideoThumb CDA distributor members from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C. last week (May 15-16) for CDA’s annual Day on the Hill advocacy program. Attendees participated in policy briefings, dinner and breakfast programs, and tours of some of our nation’s landmarks prior to their day of engaging meetings with legislators and staff.

“Day on the Hill offers CDA members a unique chance to directly communicate with their elected officials in Washington about the critical issues facing our industry,” explained Kimberly Bolin, CDA President and CEO. “Establishing relationships with our legislators and their staff is vital for our industry and members' businesses. This event provides a platform for distributor members to engage in advocacy, whether a seasoned veteran or first time participating.”

TourGroup Newly added to the two-day advocacy program was a private tour of the United States Capitol, provided by the office of Congressman Higgins (R-LA), where attendees (pictured left) had the opportunity to learn about the history of our Nation’s Capitol.

Following the tour, Bolin welcomed attendees, underscoring the importance of their upcoming engagement with legislators. In preparation, Kathee Facchiano, CDA policy advisory, and Molly Joseph, legislative director to Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), led attendees in a session on how to lobby. Facchiano and Joseph equipped both first-time and veteran attendees with effective advocacy strategies. Joseph emphasized the profound respect Members of Congress have for constituents who travel to Washington to meet with them, acknowledging the sacrifices attendees make to be present in D.C. Facchiano added that visitors with firsthand experience of policy impacts are the most compelling for legislators, and that the stories shared from constituents help Members of Congress make a case in their own meetings as a bill moves through the legislative process.

JosephFacchiano Following the session with Joseph, Facchiano guided attendees through a review of the issue briefs provided by CDA and facilitated role-playing sessions to prepare for the meetings. At this year’s Day on the Hill, attendees discussed three crucial issues facing the industry with legislators and staffers.

To the right, Joseph (right) and Facchiano lead the How to Lobby session for attendees.

Death Tax Repeal Act:
Attendees sought support of the Death Tax Repeal Act, which would permanently repeal the estate tax, eliminating the see-saw of policies that have created uncertainty from year-to-year. Permanent repeal of the estate tax will ensure the vitality of America’s small businesses – the backbone of our nation’s economy.

Warehouse Worker Protection Act:
Attendees urged opposition of the Warehouse Worker Protection Act, a bill that targets a vital part of the country’s distributor supply chain without evidence of industry issues and no proof that any of the WWPA measures would enhance worker safety.

FDA’s Tobacco Regulatory Responsibilities:
Attendees discussed FDA’s tobacco regulatory responsibilities, encouraging legislators to support Congressional oversight of CTP to prevent further market uncertainty, unregulated products, enforcement failures, unrestricted youth access, and threats to public health. They also requested offices contact OMB to oppose the bans on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

2024 CDA Chair Bill Stein, Core-Mark International, Inc., shared, “If you’re concerned with the issues and the headwinds that we face as an industry, then you need to engage because your voice will be heard.”

Drenkard Day on the Hill is generously sponsored by Altria Group Distribution Co. and Reynolds. On Wednesday evening, Altria hosted attendees at its offices overlooking the Capitol. The group was welcomed by Stein and Danielle Holloway, Altria’s senior director, industry engagement. During dinner, Scott Drenkard, director, public policy with Altria (pictured left), shared new research on bans on flavored tobacco products with evidence from state experiments with prohibition. This informative presentation included evidence from a discarded packs study completed in California and provided attendees with more information and research for their meetings. Following dinner, attendees enjoyed a bus tour of some of our nation’s landmarks and learned more about the rich history of D.C.

Theissen Reynolds hosted breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club prior to Hill meetings on Thursday morning. Attendees were welcomed by Stein and Matt Domingo, Reynolds’ senior director of external relations, and enjoyed hearing from Marc Theissen (pictured right), senior fellow at American Enterprise Institute, biweekly columnist for The Washington Post and a contributor to Fox News. Marc, along with Facchiano, shared insight into the upcoming elections and fielded questions from attendees. With the presidency, the House of Representatives, and a third of the Senate on the ballot, the discussion was lively and informative.

RepCarter “I recommend that someone from each company send a representative here, no matter if it’s their first time or if they’ve been before,” said Corey Cooper, Stephenson Wholesale Company, Inc. “It’s very important that CDA distributor members are engaged here in Washington. It makes the conversations a lot easier and a lot more personal if you take the time to come here to visit them.”

To the left, during a meeting on Capitol Hill, are (l-r) Sarah Herbert, CDA policy advisor; 2024 CDA Chair Bill Stein, Core-Mark International, Inc.; Farooq Wazirali, Texas Wholesale; Rep. John Carter (R-TX); and Monica Maciag, McLane Co., Inc.

CDA’s Day on the Hill advocacy program was productive and engaging, fostering meaningful connections between CDA members and federal officials. Through advocacy, education, and networking, we strengthened our collective voice and advanced the interests of convenience wholesale distributors. CDA would like to thank all Day on the Hill attendees, with special thanks to both Altria Group Distribution Co. and Reynolds for supporting this important event.

Cline LaHood

Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) (middle) meets with (l-r) Tom Briant, CDA policy advisor; Lawson Williams, M.R. Williams, Inc.; Melissa Manuel and Robin Fadely, Merchants Grocery Company, Inc.

Pictured (l-r) are Rahman Lakhani, N Ali Enterprises, Inc.; Tim Harris, Core-Mark North; Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL); Rob Hackett, AMCON Distributing Company; and Kimberly Bolin, CDA president and CEO.


CHC

A Special Thanks From CDA to All That Attended Day on the Hill

Above, attendees gather before breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club, hosted by Reynolds.

Atlantic Dominion Distributors
Kevin Barney

C-Store Master
Farrukh Bashir

Lyons Specialty Company, LLC
Jodi Buckner

Stephenson Wholesale Company, Inc.
Corey Cooper

Merchants Grocery Company, Inc.
Robin Fadely
Melissa Manuel

Glidewell Distributing Company, Inc.
Paula Glidewell

AMCON Distributing Company
Rob Hackett

Core-Mark North
Tim Harris

Chambers & Owen, Inc.
David Karr

N Ali Enterprises, Inc.
Rahman Lakhani

McLane Company, Inc.
Monica Maciag

Core-Mark International, Inc.
CDA Chair Bill Stein

The George J. Falter Company
Chris Warthen

Texas Wholesale
Farooq Wazirali

M.R. Williams, Inc.
Lawson Williams

Zuma & Sons Distributors Corp
Carlos Zumarraga