Press Release: The Jewelers of America Political Action Committee (JAPAC) led a delegation of jewelers to Washington, D.C. this past week in order to meet one-on-one with lawmakers. It was the second consecutive year JAPAC held the fly-in, which gave jewelers the opportunity to share their views on key legislative issues that affect the industry. The meetings took place on June 20.
The group -- comprised of Jewelers of America's (JA) chief operating officer, Robert B. Headley, its associate director of public affairs, Susan Thea Posnock, members of the JAPAC board and the board of directors -- met with 26 members of Congress, asking them to stand up for jewelers. The topics of the day included Sales Tax Fairness and protection of LIFO -- the last in, first-out accounting method that the Obama administration has sought repeatedly to repeal. Both issues are on the legislative agenda this year. In fact, Sales Tax Fairness, which would level the playing field between traditional and online retailers, has more momentum than ever before, with two bills pending in Congress. The timing of the trip was very important, since major policy issues that impact jewelers will most likely be voted on this fall, after the elections.
"Thanks to JAPAC, legislators have been put on notice that jewelers are an important constituency that Congress cannot ignore," said Headley. "Face-to-face meetings with legislators are critical, as the legislators and their staff understand our issues much more clearly that way."
Speaking directly to legislators on issues such as Sales Tax Fairness is especially important to jeweler Jeff Corey, owner of Day's Jewelers, Waterville, Maine. He said he's tired of seeing his customers walk out the door in order to avoid paying sales tax, opting for online purchases instead. "We need a voice in D.C. to protect our rights as an industry, that's why JAPAC is so important," he said. Corey is vice chair of the JAPAC board and previously served on the JA's board of directors.
The meetings were part of a day long agenda that included presentations from Republican and Democratic political consultants and two JAPAC fundraising events organized by JA's D.C.-based legislative counsel, Haake & Associates.
In addition to Corey, the following JAPAC and/or JA board members took part in the trip:
Scot Congress of Congress Jewelers in Sanibel Island, Florida (JAPAC board chair, JA board), Bill Farmer of Farmer's Jewelers in Lexington, Kentucky (JAPAC board, chairman-elect of JA board), Jon Bridge of Ben Bridge Jeweler in Seattle, Washington (JAPAC board, past JA board member) and John Henne of Henne Jewelers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (JA board). JAPAC is the only political action committee that supports the fine jewelry retail industry in Washington, D.C. To learn more, visit www.jewelers.org/japac/.
About Jewelers of America
Jewelers of America (JA) is the national trade association for businesses serving the fine jewelry retail marketplace, with the primary purpose of improving consumer confidence in the jewelry industry. JA's consumer education arm, Jewelry Information Center (JIC), provides public relations and marketing services on behalf of the fine jewelry and watch industry. Visit www.jewelers.org and www.JIC.org for more information.
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