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Convenience Industry Leaders Descend Upon Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, is bringing convenience store retailers, state associations and industry suppliers together with members of Congress and their staffs during the annual NACS Day on Capitol Hill. The two-day event is designed to help industry insiders educate legislators on the issues most important to the convenience store industry.

Yesterday, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, welcomed attendees and provided tips for inexperienced lobbyists, including the need to be genuine about topics under discussion and making the most of limited time, as legislators can be called to vote with very short notice.

Sanchez also took a frank look at her own peers in Congress and their need to work together on issues like debt reform, mentioning a recent poll that ranked "cockroaches and colonoscopies" higher in popularity than members of Congress.

Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), Chief Deputy Whip and also a member of the Ways and Means Committee, stressed the importance of grassroots efforts and getting employees engaged with issues that affect their workplace, reported NACS. He also suggested that retailers decide at the leadership level to educate employees on how their futures will be affected.

Both Sanchez and Roskam agreed tax-code reform is a priority.

Attendees had the chance to pose specific lobbying-related questions during a panel with three congressional staff veterans. Robert Primus, chief of staff for Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), and others gave advice on building relationships with legislators holding opposing views on industry-related issues, as well as other topics.

Today's agenda includes meeting with members of Congress, along with their staff, from 45 states.

At last year's NACS Day on Capitol Hill, retailers focused on the issues of fuel liability reform, payment card industry data security, menu labeling and roll-your-own tobacco when meeting with members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. CSNews Online spent the day with E-Z Mart Stores CEO Sonja Hubbard as she met with elected officials.

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