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Print & Packaging Legislative Summit Draws 100-plus to DC

By AICC Staff

July 30, 2018

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Attendees of the 2018 Print & Packaging Legislative Summit gather in the rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., before heading out on their congressional visits.

 

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Dennis Colley of the Fibre Box Association addresses attendees during the Congressional Reception in the Rayburn House Office Building.

More than 100 members of the printing, corrugated, and paperboard packaging industries met June 19–20 in Washington, D.C., for the 2018 Print & Packaging Legislative Summit. The purpose of the two-day event was to help advance a legislative agenda that focused on workforce developmentongoing tax reform, health care, and other challenges facing small and medium-sized printing and converting businesses. Six principal industry associations collaborated on this year’s Summit: AICC, the Independent Packaging Association; the Association for Print Technologies (APT); the Fibre Box Association (FBA); Idealliance; Printing Industries of America (PIA); and the Specialty Graphics Imaging Association (SGIA).

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Heads of the 2018 Print & Packaging Legislative Summit sponsoring organizations gather in Washington, from left: Dan Muenzer, Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute; Ford Bowers, Specialty Graphics Imaging Association; Steve Young, AICC; Michael Makin, Printing Industries of America; Thayer Long, Association for Print Technology; Dan Steinhart, Idealliance; and Dennis Colley, Fibre Box Association.

The Summit began on Tuesday, June 19, with policy briefings from subject-matter experts on international trade, tariffs, recycling and environmental regulations, continuing tax reform, and workforce . AICC President Steve Young welcomed attendees, telling them, “This is an ecumenical event that brings together businesses that have the common purpose of putting ink on paper, folding it, die cutting it, gluing it, and then shipping it to an end-use customer to sell a product, protect the product, communicate an idea, or tell a story. While our businesses may be slightly different, we all share a common desire in having a more favorable tax code, a relaxed regulatory environment, and a labor policy that encourages and builds up our workforces.”

The briefings were followed by a reception in the Rayburn House Office Building honoring members of the 115th Congress and presenting several Friend of Print & Packaging and the RICOH Innovation in Government Communications awards. Awards were presented to Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Gerald Connolly of Virginia. A dinner at the Capitol Hill Club featured keynote speaker Charlie Cook, editor-in-chief of the Cook Political Report, who presented a prognostication of the midterm elections being held later this year.

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AICC and Summit attendees gather outside the office of Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., from left: Al Hoodwin, Michigan City Paper Box; Jim Fetherston, Worzalla; Matt Baehr, Book Manufacturers Institute; John Sofinowski, BW Papersystems; and Len Prazych, Board Converting News.

On Wednesday, June 20, attendees enjoyed breakfast in the Russell Senate Office Building with four U.S. Senators: Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; John Boozman, R-Ark.; Angus King, I-Maine; and Tom Carper, D-Del. Each senator received a Friend of Print and Packaging award. Commenting on the importance of the group’s visits on Capitol Hill that day and the power of the legislative branch over the private sector, Sen. Boozman reminded members, “You can be legislated out of business overnight.” Sen. Heitkamp, for her part, thanked attendees for the award and added that it was, “as typical on Capitol Hill, an award for trying, not for getting results.” She urged members to “help me get results through your visits to your senators and representatives today.”

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Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., gives remarks at the Senate breakfast on Wednesday, June 20. She received a 2018 Friend of Print & Packaging award for her support of the industry.

The rest of the day was filled with visiting members of Congress to present and discuss the of concern for the print and packaging industries. Overall, more than 300 individual visits were arranged for Summit attendees by Prime Advocacy, a Capitol Hill political consulting firm.

All attendees at the Summit received a briefing packet, complete with leave-​behinds detailing the industry’s position on various economic and business policies. The Fibre Box Association (FBA) once more provided their “corrugated conversation cards,” a bound deck of fact cards about the superior environmental and performance attributes of corrugated packaging products. “We were once again proud to be able to offer these conversation cards to all attendees at the 2018 Summit,” says Dennis Colley, president and CEO of FBA. “We believe these unique cards are remembered and referred to often by congressional aides when they are researching packaging-related subjects.” At a midday break, attendees had the opportunity to attend several tax seminars sponsored by Falco Sult, an independent accounting and tax firm headquartered in Redmond, Wash.

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John Sofinowski (left), BW Papersystems, and Al Hoodwin, Michigan City Paper Box, pause outside the office of Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., before their appointment.

Eric Elgin of Oklahoma Interpak, Chair of AICC’s Government Affairs Committee, says this and other summits are worth the investment of time. “This is a great educational experience for any member. It’s important that we business owners become engaged in the legislative process.”

Al Hoodwin, CEO of Michigan City Paper Box and Chair of AICC, agreed, saying, “We don’t realize the extent and complexity of policy discussions going on in Washington until we visit here and experience this.”

The evening brought all attendees back together with a happy hour and a Print & Packaging Night Out at Nationals Park to watch the Washington Nationals vs. the Baltimore Orioles in the annual “Battle of the Beltway.”

Top sponsors for the program included the Tag & Label Manufacturers Institute (TLMI), RICOH, Packsize, the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), and Falco Sult. Additional sponsors were Resolute Forest Products, Catalyst Paper, the Book Manufacturers Institute (BMI), Twin Rivers Paper, Poteet Printing Systems, and Quad Graphics.

For more information about the 2018 Print & Packaging Legislative Summit, contact Cindy Huber at 703-535-1384 or chuber@aiccbox.org.