RVIA members meet with Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.-2 during RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day.

RVIA members meet with Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., during RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) enjoyed its biggest Capitol Hill Advocacy Day ever on June 3, with 49 association members taking part in meetings with 100 different congressional offices.

According to a press release, RVIA scheduled meetings with 55 Senate offices and 45 House of Representatives offices that represent 29 states. Forty-three of the meetings were held directly with a member of the Senate or House of Representatives, an all-time high for the association. In addition to the meetings, RVIA had a Newmar Canyon Star Class A motorhome on display on the Senate side of Capitol Hill for members of Congress and staff to tour.

“We were thrilled with the strong engagement of our members in this year’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day and the extraordinary volume of key meetings that took place due to that high level of participation,” said Jay Landers, RVIA’s senior director of government affairs. “Advocacy Day keeps growing in popularity and effectiveness each year. Our members really enjoy advocating for the industry, and the relationships that are formed are critically important to RVIA’s legislative efforts.”

Topics discussed during the congressional meetings included the strong performance of the RV market; participation in and support of the House RV Caucus or Senate RV Caucus; the need to clarify the distinction between RVs and manufactured housing in upcoming Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rulemaking; and, the option to have RV transport drivers use either the Record of Duty Status written form or an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) to comply with commercial vehicle hours of service requirements.

Advocacy Day has played a valuable role in helping RVIA secure key legislative victories in recent years, including exempting RV awnings from commercial width regulations; having the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopt the CARB wood products standard for formaldehyde emission levels; including RV retail and wholesale loans in the Term-Asset Backed Securities Loan Facility; and having tax breaks for motorhome purchases included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Senate RV Caucus Event Caps the Day

Participating in the "Great American RV Experience" were (L-R): Tim Riley, Tiffin Motorhomes; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; and  RVIA Chairman Derald Bontrager

Participating in the “Great American RV Experience” were (L-R): Tony Riley, Tiffin Motorhomes; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; and RVIA Chairman Derald Bontrager

RVIA and the newly-formed Senate RV Caucus capped the day by co-hosting the “Great American RV Experience,” the kick-off reception for the caucus that drew more than 250 attendees.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., who co-chair the Senate RV Caucus, were special guests at the event along with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind. Other guests included staff from Senate and House of Representatives offices, various federal agencies and allied trade associations.

The reception, held at the Hart Senate Office Building, featured four campfire-like settings with different themes around the reception room which guests visited while enjoying a picnic atmosphere. A photo booth where guests could have their picture superimposed into an RV scene was another popular activity and provided a fun memento of the evening for attendees.

“It was a tremendous event that helped raise the profile of the RV industry among some very influential Members of Congress and their staff,” said B.J. Thompson, chairman of RVIA’s Grassroots Subcommittee who helped plan the event. “Between Advocacy Day and the ‘Great American RV Experience,’ RVIA put together an incredibly productive day.  We are steadily boosting our exposure at the federal level, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Senate RV Caucus and House RV Caucus in the future on issues critical to the RV industry.”