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National Restaurant Association - Convention-bound: NRA activities aim to raise industry profile

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Convention-bound: NRA activities aim to raise industry profile

As chair of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors, Rosalyn "Roz" Mallet will represent the restaurant industry at the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

The NRA is sponsoring events at both conventions to create awareness
of the restaurant industry. In addition to sponsoring benefit concerts for the Wounded Warrior Family Support Project at both conventions, the NRA also will conduct informational briefings on small-business issues and host receptions to focus attention on the local hospitality industry.

Next week, The NRA is among the hosts of a “Toast to Tampa” party for the
Republican National Convention in Florida. The Association is hosting a similar event in early September in Charlotte, N.C., for the Democratic National Convention. “Toast to Charlotte” is at the Mimosa Grill, owned by NRA member Tom Sasser, president, Harper’s Restaurant Group.

The NRA’s presence at the conventions isn’t about partisanship, Mallet says.

"We’re trying to create awareness of the importance of our industry and get action on our issues from both parties," she says. "We spend a lot of time looking at who’s running for the Senate and House and trying to figure out whether they may be able to help us move our issues down the path."

Part of the NRA's role at the conventions is to build rapport. The Association is working with state restaurant associations and allies inside and outside the industry to put on events at both conventions. The goal is to build on existing relationships with lawmakers, as well as establish new connections, Mallet says.

"You can’t get anything done without having relationships — that’s the nature of the way decisions are made," she says.

Restaurateurs need to build relationships in their communities, as well as on the federal level, she adds. Because politics in many cases is primarily local, restaurateurs have a responsibility to talk with state and local officials, as well as their senators and representatives when they are back in their home districts, she says.

“Restaurateurs need to make sure candidates understand the restaurant industry’s issues and how their decisions affect us, as well as how restaurants affect the economy,” Mallet says.

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