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Independents urged to make voices heard in D.C.

Independent retailers aren't just rock stars in their communities; they often play that role in the halls of government as well.

Jennifer Hatcher
Jennifer Hatcher

That was the message from Jennifer Hatcher, SVP, government and public affairs, FMI, who urged independent retailers to become even more engaged with legislators, including at FMI's upcoming Day in Washington, scheduled for April 14-16.

"You are known in communities and can relay a complete picture of how your businesses are impacted" by legislative and regulatory moves, she told an audience at the Independent Operator Lunch and Business Sessions during the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference in Miami Beach.

FMI is pursuing a range of government priorities, ranging from health care and tax reform on the legislative side to GMO labeling and FSMA implementation on the regulatory side. Involving independents in the lobbying process gets the attention of lawmakers, Hatcher said.

She outlined a number of steps that independents can take to help FMI's efforts. These include letting the association know of unique relationships retailers have with congressional members, inviting congressional members to stores, sending home-state products to congressional offices, and attending FMI's Washington event.

She also emphasized that retailers should use FMI as a resource when dealing not only with national issues, but also state and local.

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