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American Boating Congress
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For the first time ever, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas participated as a group in the annual American Boating Congress in April 2012. Officers, Members of the Board of Directors and staff of the MRAA participated in the two-day legislative program.

ABC is the industry’s only opportunity for leaders of the boating industry to work together to engage lawmakers, policymakers, and staff on issues that are critical to the success of the boating market. The 2012 ABC featured an informative line-up of sessions and speakers addressing issues from economic recovery, boating and fishing access, small business and tax, and ethanol policy.

MRAA members who attended the event and spent time talking with legislators on Capitol Hill, were provided copies of MRAA’s leave-behind folder to help them present issues important to marine retailing. The folder included issue briefs supporting the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, strong opposition to Federal attempts to mandate adult life jacket wear, strong opposition to E-15 ethanol gasoline blends and the NOAA fish catch limits, as well as strong support of dredging and retention of the second home mortgage interest deduction.

At right, MRAA President Matt Gruhn (center), with
(from left) John Sima, Sima Marine; Steve Baum,
Boat Owners Warehouse; Dave Foulkrod,
Ron Hoover RV & Marine; and
Randy Wattenbarger, Cleveland Boat Center.

MRAA, which was a co-host of ABC, held a Board meeting and a strategic planning session immediately preceding the event and then attended the morning briefings before adjourning for an afternoon spent visiting key Congressional offices. Several local, state and regional marine trades associations also spent the day in Washington lobbying on behalf of marine legislative and regulatory issues. About 165 industry leaders attended the ABC in all.

MRAA President Matt Gruhn and Washington, D.C., Representative Larry Innis joined with Dave Foulkrod, MRAA Chairman, and Ken and Kenny Lovell of the Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston to visit several Senate and Congressional offices from Texas.

Copies of the MRAA position briefs can be found here.


Brandon Mooney, (second from left), Legislative Assistant for Rep. Pete Olson (R -TX), takes a moment to pose with (from lef) MRAA President Matt Gruhn, MRAA Chairman Dave Foulkrod, and Boating Trades Association of Metropolitan Houston's Ken and Kenny Lovell.

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