In June, I did just that. I attended the National Limousine Association’s Day on the Hill and it truly put into perspective what the NLA is all about. It was a swelteringly hot day in Washington, D.C. Regardless, more than 20 operators/members of the NLA and vendors, including reps from Ford and Cadillac, gathered at 7:30 a.m. at the Monroe Hotel for a briefing on how Day on the Hill works.
I was in group 1 and was scheduled to meet with 10 congressmen and senators in an 8-hour day. We loaded up in a donated Dav El van and off we went to Capital Hill to begin a day of pitching the needs of our industry, bringing attention to such issues as the Gas Guzzler tax, since it’s already attached to the highway transportation bill. Both the House and Senate predict the bill will pass by Jan. 1, 2005 (translating into NO MORE Guzzler Tax for you).
We attended meeting after meeting with a united mission – to put a face on the limousine industry and appeal to our government to treat us fairly and with respect.
By the end of the day I was wiped out! But there was still a Roy Blunt fund-raiser to attend. Congressman Blunt from Missouri is a big supporter for us because so many of his constituents manufacture limousines.
What I walked away with from that day was a totally new perspective of this industry, the incredible spirit of its people and a better understanding of the NLA’s objectives.
Back in our own offices we tend to get bogged down in our private issues and disconnect from the industry at large. What’s happening “out there” is lost in all the other “stuff” we have to deal with. We rationalize in our minds, asking such questions as, “What do I need a national association for? I’m just a small operator and I’m only impacted by my local municipalities and airports.” Or, “Why should I give up my hard-earned $200 to join the NLA when I’ll reap the benefits of whatever they accomplish on the legislative front anyway?”
Many operators I speak to believe that joining their local association makes more sense to them and they question the merits of what the NLA does and what the benefits really are – especially for smaller operators.
I believe if you walked in my shoes that hot June day and spent the time to experience first hand what the NLA is getting done, then like me, you would have an entirely different point of view.
Membership dollars and volunteerism fund such association actions as Day on the Hill. Actions that make a big difference. Actions that let our government know that while we are a small industry, we are strong. We are made up of good, hard-working entrepreneurs who want less regulation and taxation and more financial concessions.
The NLA gives us a voice. A very big voice.