Nineteen HPBA members from the nine HPBA Affiliates, the Pellet Fuels Institute, and National Chimney Sweep Guild, attended the 2016 Tom Pugh Government Affairs Academy (GAA) in Washington, D.C from July 11-14. The event consisted of 2 ½ days of in-class and a full day of visits with legislators and Congressional staff on Capitol Hill.
The curriculum consisted of media training, testimony preparation before a local Board of Supervisors, an over view of state and local lobbying, and overview of HPBA’s grassroots software.
On the final day of GAA, attendees had 54 meetings with Congressional staff, with nine of those meetings being with the Representative or Senator themselves. Advocates discussed extension of the 25C tax credit for biomass stoves, potential language authorizing funds for a national changeout grant program, the Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act, and offered details about their businesses and their local interests.
Overall, this year’s GAA was very successful, energizing a new generation of the hearth industry and establishing roots in each of the participating HPBA Affiliates for grassroots advocates. HPBA staff has already begun plans for the 2018 GAA.
MWHPBA would like to thank Dan Hechler from Hechler's Mainstreet Hearth & Home in Troy, MO for attending on our behalf.