Lodging industry CEOs met with senior Administration officials in the White House yesterday to highlight the industry’s success with creating jobs, two days after the President delivered the State of the Union address.
The White House meeting included Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and representatives from the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce.
“I was very encouraged in speaking with the President’s economic and immigration advisers,” said Ron Vlasic, AH&LA chair of the board and regional vice president of hotels, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. “Mr. Sperling was well versed in the importance of the lodging industry to the economy and valued our feedback on policy priorities. Our meetings with the Administration were very productive, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide input on our industry’s key issues as the President lays out his second-term agenda.”
The delegation of top lodging executives then headed to Capitol Hill to discuss the industry’s key policy priorities with Senate leadership.
“The lodging industry is a driver for the U.S. economy,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president & CEO, Hyatt Hotels. “Our hotels are in every district and we directly employ over 1.8 million workers. It is important for our industry to meet with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to discuss the practical implications of legislation they will propose in the 113th Congress.”
The group met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Republican Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Democrat Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Mark Pryor (D-AR), along with the chief counsel for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
“Senators from both parties understand that our industry creates jobs that cannot be outsourced,” said Jim Abrahamson, AH&LA secretary/treasurer and CEO, Interstate Hotels & Resorts. “I was pleased to join my fellow industry leaders today on Capitol Hill to reinforce the message that lodging caters to every sector and has a stake in nearly every policy debate.”
The executives at today’s White House and Congressional meetings represent the $137.5 billion-dollar lodging industry. They traveled to Washington, D.C. to discuss how governmental policy initiatives will affect their 51,214 properties and 1.8 million lodging employees.