More than 120 floral-industry members, including 12 first-time attendees, visited Washington, D.C., for SAF’s 24th Annual Congressional Action Days, March 15 and 16. Twenty-seven state delegations visited more than 170 congressional offices to discuss health care and immigration reform, funding for the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative and permanent estate-tax repeal.
"[Congressional Action Days] has really given me a sense of the interaction in D.C.," said first-time attendee Scoot Kitayama of Greenleaf Wholesale Florist, Brigthon, Ohio. "It’s nice to have people here who really know the issues."
Objectives of the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative include improving ornamental horticulture’s environmental and resource management practices; improving insect, disease and weed management, and improving ornamental horticulture’s production-system strategies.
"It’s our voice, it’s our industry," said first-time attendee Heather Cross of Amato Wholesale Florist, Denver, Colo. "It’s wonderful to have our voice on the Hill."
Among this year’s speakers were George Will, renowned political and baseball historian, who answered questions during Monday’s kick-off breakfast. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, headlined Monday night’s dinner. Congress’ only former florist, Rep. Sue Kelly (R-19-N.Y.) rallied attendees on Tuesday morning for congressional office visits.
Each year, Congressional Action Days is capped off by the gala Congressional Reception, where more than 40 members of Congress attended. Rumored to be a Capitol Hill favorite, the reception was filled with bouquets, plants and design arrangements courtesy of SAF’s volunteer design team.
SAF’s next Annual Congressional Action Days is scheduled for March 14 and 15, 2005. For more information, visit www.safnow.com .