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Navigating Washington

By Jonathan Sweet

It’s more important than ever that those in the marine industry pay attention to Washington

From E15 to water access, from taxes to Obamacare, the role of government has never been bigger in the day-to-day operations of the marine industry – and that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Now that the election has passed, regulations that had been on hold are starting to see the light of day as the Obama administration ramps up for its final four years.

“There’s going to be even more going on. We would expect, as is normal with a second (term), they kind of hit the ground running,” said Cindy Squires, the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s former chief counsel for public affairs and director of regulatory affairs. “Things have been on hold and they’re going to start moving forward. It’s important that we pay attention.”

In this section, we’ll explore a few of the key government and regulatory issues facing the industry today, and changes industry groups are trying to get made in Washington. And it is possible – even in today’s ultra-partisan Washington climate – to make some progress. One of the advantages the boating industry has is that its issues are bipartisan, said Jim Currie, NMMA’s legislative director.

“We’ve been fortunate in that we can cut through the partisanship on the hill,” he said. “Getting anything through Congress is a crapshoot, but we think we have about as good a chance of anybody of getting anything through.”

One of the best ways to make an impact and influence policy is to talk directly to your senators and representatives. Every year, the American Boating Congress gives the marine industry a chance to do that and NMMA President Thom Dammrich about why that is so important in this Q&A (Link: American Boating Congress). Even if you can’t make ABC, reaching out to local representatives plays a big role in the industry’s success.

“I can go up there and talk with them (and) we think we’re effective in doing that, but there’s nothing like a constituent presenting an issue and saying, ‘I employ 150 people in your district,’” Currie said. “Those are jobs, those are dollars we’re talking about.”

Explore the issues:
The E15 controversy

E15 bills in Congress
Preserving access
FAQs about Obamacare
American Boating Congress


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