NMMA kicks off 2004 American Boating Congress

WASHINGTON – National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich opened the 2004 American Boating Congress this morning with the news that NMMA had recently approved a budget for its Political Action Committee of $160,000.

In his introductory remarks to boating industry leaders at the Loews L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., Dammrich said NMMA had doubled it’s PAC funding during the two-year election cycle that ends this year, but that even more money must be committed to the industry’s lobbying effort.

“We need to be closer to $200,000,” Dammrich said.

Dammrich told the audience that PAC’s are the most effective way for people with a common interest to have their voices heard.

Bernadette Budde, a BIPAC senior vice president, spoke to the ABC attendees as well, and urged manufacturers to work with retailers and encourage boating consumers to become more politically active at election time.

“I think your goal should be to turn every boater into a voter,” Budde said.

Breaux speaks for final time

Senator John Breaux (D-La.) – a member of the Congressional Boating Caucus who is retiring at the end of the 108th Congress after 32 years of service – also addressed the group.

Among the issues Breaux discussed was the reauthorization of the
Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, otherwise known as Wallop-Breaux. The senator said he is confident the trust fund would be reauthorized this year, and added that he is working on legislation to guarantee 100 percent of the tax would go towards Wallop-Breaux.

Breaux also spoke in support Budde’s comments, even offering an idea to spark consumer participation in the political process. Breaux suggested retailers include a slip of paper with every marine product sold that would encourage consumers to make sure their members of congress were also members of the Congressional Boating Caucus.

The American Boating Congress will continue through Tuesday.

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– Liz Walz

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