Above: Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta talked about workforce development issues
 

Nearly 600 industry leaders from 43 state restaurant associations converged on Capitol Hill for the National Restaurant Association’s 33rd Annual Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

The two-day event, titled “Serving America’s Future, recognized our Association’s 100th anniversary. It also featured updates from Representatives and Senators on key industry policies, conversations with political pundits, and tips from some of our advocacy experts on speaking effectively with lawmakers about issues affecting the restaurant industry.


The Colorado Restaurant Association's Sonia Riggs, left, with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)


Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), and U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, all gave policy updates and talked about the restaurant industry’s impact on business and the economy.

In addition, former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile addressed the attendees with a message about inclusion, bipartisanship and patriotism, and political strategists Stephanie Cutter and Alex Castellanos, teamed up with “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan, for a keynote presentation that included insights on the 2020 Presidential election and how to navigate the country’s current hyper-partisan political climate.

The event, held March 27-28, ended with industry leaders from 43 state restaurant associations heading to Capitol Hill for meetings with their U.S. Congressmen and Senators. They discussed several issues, including:

  • A possible correction to a drafting error in the 2017 tax reform legislation that reverted a 15-year restaurant building depreciation period back to 39 years
     
  • The potential for reasonable immigration reform combined with border security that would facilitate travel, tourism and a clear path to legalization for workers, as well as essential worker and employment verification systems
     
  • Support for a balanced approach to the minimum wage debate that is workable for employers and employees

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), left, with Jim Hopper, president and CEO of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association

“This Public Affairs Conference was the Association’s opportunity to showcase the diversity, business expertise and economic impact of our industry,” said Steve Danon, senior vice president of public affairs.”