By Renée Sunde, President/CEO
Conference season is upon us and Mark Johnson, Senior VP of Public Policy and I attended the Council of State Retail Associations (CSRA) conference held last week in historic San Antonio, Texas.
Joined by colleagues who run retail associations around the nation, the conference was packed with information and offered opportunities to connect with other association execs, WRA members and national partners.
Keynote speaker Bill Press, a familiar voice on progressive radio stations since 2005 with the “Bill Press Show,” had a lot to say about today’s political climate. He discussed the three things that he believes could result in a more functional government – the expanded, more engaged and informed electorate.
His self-proclaimed title of “worried optimist” was evident as he spoke about the excitement progressives have around the mid-term elections with record numbers of candidates running and more people turning out. According to Press, more females and young people are turning out to run for office.
What I took away was crystal clear. This is not a time for voters to disengage or get lazy. The retail industry depends on elected officials who support business and understand the value of job creation and retention.
Other hot topics this year included Marketplace Fairness Legislation; Organized Retail Crime Felony Threshold and Criminal Justice Reform; and Employee Retention and Training programs. These issues are just a few examples of those the association will be engaged with in the coming year.
By creating opportunities for state retail associations to share legislative successes, strategies, potential coalition members, and arguments to defeat or pass legislation, our members are insured that their state retail association is armed with information to help key policy and decisionmakers pass supportive legislation on behalf of the retail industry.