The final countdown to the presidential election is upon us—and what a ride it’s been. There’s no doubt that this election cycle will go down in the history books as one of the most unprecedented races of all time. Additionally, the country’s demanding 24-hour news cycle fuels uncertainty and constant change in Congressional races across the country, and leaves in question the final makeup of the House of Representatives and the Senate. While it’s easy to speculate and claim it’s anyone’s guess as to what the outcome will be, the fact remains, you can make a difference.
The stakes are higher than ever for our industry as new legislative and regulatory threats continue to emerge in the areas of technology, distribution, and workforce. Now is the time to take a stand and support candidates at all levels of government—city, state, and federal—who will advocate on behalf of hoteliers. With one unified and powerful voice, we can continue to define our industry and your involvement is critical to these efforts. Make yourselves heard in town hall meetings, political events, fundraisers, or campaign stops, and most importantly, in the voting booth.
Our industry’s record six-plus years of job growth, economic contributions, and commitment to community development strengthens and empowers communities across the country. We support nearly 8 million jobs and generate more than $167 billion in federal, state, and local taxes. Our guests contribute to that growth too, spending some $483 billion that goes to local economies and small businesses.
In towns and cities across every Congressional district, our industry has been an engine for the local and national economy. The value of the lodging sector is undeniable and our strength provides us opportunities to advance an ambitious and dynamic advocacy agenda where we work with all levels of government to cultivate champions in our partners, stakeholders, and elected officials who back commonsense policy objectives to bolster the lodging sector. We have so many opportunities before us, but also some very real challenges. We urge you to consider candidates who will support our industry and our issues.
Consider candidates who understand how the rise of commercial operators running illegal hotels fostered by short-term rental companies can jeopardize the safety and security of the surrounding communities. Or members of Congress who embrace the industry’s entrepreneurial spirit and business flexibility while encouraging less burdensome labor laws. Look for officials who understand our commitment to protecting consumers and our future guests, particularly in the ever-evolving distribution landscape. Curbing online hotel booking scams, increasing consumer choice, and exposing certain online travel agency deceptive practices are significant issues in which we need to continue to address with a new administration and Congressional leaders.
With the current state of contested races heating up across the country, as 34 Senate seats are up for grabs and only 30 House seats are needed to flip control of the lower chamber, now is when we can take charge of our country’s political fate and ensure we back candidates with policy views aligned with our industry.
In the coming days, we encourage all industry advocates and leaders to get out to vote, support the candidates who will make our industry stronger, and consider joining AH&LA’s HotelPAC, our bipartisan Political Action Committee to help elect federal candidates who will promote policies that create a fair business environment and allow the industry to create jobs and grow their businesses and the economy. For more information, reach out to visit www.ahla.com/hotelpac.
And as we look ahead to 2017, AH&LA will continue advocating on your behalf with the new administration and a new Congress. With one vision and one voice, AH&LA remains focused on working with elected leaders on both sides of the aisle on policies that allow our industry to keep growing and contributing to the economy, and policies that promote travel and tourism.
About the Author
Vanessa Sinders is senior vice president and department head of government affairs for the American Hotel & Lodging Association.