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National Restaurant Association - NRA’s Sweeney to Democrats: Industry integral to job creation

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NRA’s Sweeney to Democrats: Industry integral to job creation

The National Restaurant Association this week took its message regarding the industry's important role in job creation to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Dawn Sweeney, the NRA's president and CEO, headed up a contingent of association executives, including chair Roz Mallet, who attended the convention Sept. 3-6. While there, Sweeney addressed the Illinois delegation at a breakfast, telling them that the restaurant industry is troubled over myriad government regulations and legislation that could affect its future growth. Also speaking at the event were U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

"We have real concerns about regulations that limit our ability to be a job creator and business builder," Sweeney said. "We look forward to working with each of you to address those concerns and other hurdles to growth and economic recovery."

The NRA chief further noted that job growth within the restaurant industry has outpaced national growth for 13 consecutive years. In the past year, she noted, restaurant jobs increased by 2.9 percent while national job growth rose just 1.4 percent.

Sweeney, who also addressed job growth last month at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., told the Democrats that restaurants not only create employment for the industry, but also are "a strong economic multiplier through the construction and supply chains.

"Restaurants," she continued, "are a cornerstone of infrastructure development, and a willingness to foster an environment that encourages that growth is vital."
Sweeney told the delegates she hoped they would "view our industry as an ally and partner" as they "address the challenges facing our nation."

She also talked about the NRA's deep ties to Illinois, telling delegates that the association's annual industry show has been held in Chicago for more than 40 years and that the majority of its staff works at offices in downtown Chicago.

Also during the convention, the NRA hosted a "Toast to Charlotte" benefiting hunger-relief organization Share Our Strength. The event, sponsored by the NRA in conjunction with the Democratic Governors Association, the U.S. Travel Association, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and McDonald's Corp., was held at Mimosa Grill and attended by as many as 400 people. Several governors attended, including DGA chair Martin O'Malley of Maryland and Bev Perdue of North Carolina. The NRA's Mallet, Carol Fulks of the West Virginia Restaurant Association, and Tom Sasser of Charlotte-based Harper's Restaurants Inc., owner of Mimosa Grill and an NRA member, also were in attendance.

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