Annual Congressional Day flourishes for another year

IndUS Business Journal Newswire reports that the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) once again held a successful annual event on Capitol Hill bring together leaders of the hotel group and many U.S. politicians.

Held on Sept. 9 in the Senate Russell Building, the AAHOA Congressional Day and Capitol Hill Reception the event was targeted to showcase the enthusiasm and commitment of AAHOA and its members to take part in the democratic process, according to the organization.

More than 160 AAHOA board members and ambassadors gathered on Capitol Hill to discuss issues surrounding proposed legislation and how it could affect their businesses, their communities, and the country as a whole.

In the afternoon, AAHOA’s group was separated into teams according to their home states. They attended meetings with members of Congress and their staff from those states in order to discuss crucial issues affecting the hospitality industry and small businesses throughout the country. Prior to the meetings, they attended a training session regarding official AAHOA “Talking Points” that they could use to advocate for the organization’s positions when they met with their elected officials.

AAHOA Talking Points cover topics such as:

  • Key facts and statistics about AAHOA and our members;
  • AAHOA’s opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as the Card Check Bill, including details on the compromises to the act that are being debated in Congress
  • AAHOA’s support for the Travel Promotion Act, which was subsequently passed in the Senate
  • AAHOA’s strong opposition to the health care reform bills
  • AAHOA’s support for the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009.
  • Those organization members in attendance for the training session also heard a keynote luncheon speech from Becky Norton Dunlap, vice president of external relations for the Heritage Foundation, a Washington D.C.-based public policy research institute. Norton Dunlap, who also served in the President Ronald Reagan administration, spoke about the importance of AAHOA members and small business owners having a place in the political arena, as well as having their interests and needs directly represented by their elected officials.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8, which was the first day Congress returned to session after its summer vacation, AAHOA was cited in the Congressional Record of the 111th Congress by Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA).

“It was my honor to attend AAHOA’s national convention earlier this year, where its members celebrated 20 years of excellence and service to their respective communities,” Royce stated in the record. “Madam Speaker, I am pleased to recognize AAHOA and the Indian American community and look forward to working together in the future.”

“It was a tremendous day for AAHOA and small business owners everywhere,” said Tarun S. Patel, chairman of AAHOA. “We came to Capitol Hill so the members of Congress could meet face to face with honest and hardworking hoteliers whose businesses and livelihoods will be drastically affected by proposed legislation. Not only did we succeed with our goals and receive encouraging feedback during our meetings, but we also celebrated the news of the Senate passing the U.S. Travel Promotion Act.”

“I think we can take pride in the fact that we have done our part to add to the democratic legacy on Capitol Hill,” said Fred Schwartz, president of AAHOA. “This was only the second day that Congress was back in session after the summer and Labor Day break, and it was an opportune time to raise our concerns about several of the important bills that are pending. Our AAHOA leaders were able to speak directly with the lawmakers before any votes were taken on legislation that could have a lasting impact on our hotels and our community for many years to come. This is a time unlike any other in history, and we will continue to build on these relationships as we move forward with our advocacy efforts.”

Members of Congress who attended the AAHOA Capitol Hill Reception included: Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Senator Roger Wicker, R-Mo., Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., Congressman Joseph Cao, R-La., Congressman Howard Coble, R-N.C., Congressman Mike Coffman, R-Colo., Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Congressman Mike Honda, D-Calif., Congressman Bob Inglis, R-S.C., Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., Congressman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., Congressman Bill Posey, R-Fla., Congressman Tom Price, R-Ga., Congressman Ed Royce, R-Calif., Congressman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, Congressman Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., and Congressman Joe Wilson, R-S.C.

Other political attendees included: a staff representative for Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla.; a staff representative for Senator Jim Risch, R-Idaho; and Arun K. Singh, deputy chief of mission ambassador of India to the United States.

Founded in 1989, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) is now one of the fastest-growing organizations in the industry, with more than 9,700 members owning more than 22,000 hotels that total $60 billion in property value. AAHOA officers include Chairman Tarun S. Patel, Vice Chairman ChandraKant Patel, Treasurer Hemant D. Patel, Secretary Alkesh R. Patel and President Fred Schwartz. The group has also has a 33-member board of directors that helps provide direction for the association. AAHOA is dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of its members through programs and initiatives in advocacy, industry leadership, professional development, member benefits and community involvement.

IndUS Business Journal