WASHINGTON -- The National Automatic Merchandising Association's board of directors has wrapped up the association's first-ever Public Policy Conference here.
The two-day event was highlighted by meetings with representatives from the legislative and executive branches, as well as federal agencies, including the White House Office of Business Liaison, the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Speaker of the House. Discussions centered on critical industry issues, ranging from taxes and healthcare reform through nutrition and caloric-content labeling to interchange fees and compliance with the new Americans with Disabilities Act rules.
At the meeting with representatives from the White House Office of Business Liaison, NAMA showcased its Balanced for Life and Fit Pick initiatives as an example of successful industry self-regulation and a concrete demonstration of vending's longstanding commitment to enabling informed and relevant consumer choice in refreshment services. This resulted in agreement by the Liaison Office to consider future collaborative efforts building on the program's strong foundation.
Additionally, NAMA participated in strategic discussions on the topic of interchange fees. "Raising awareness among congressional and regulatory officials with the requisite jurisdictional oversight regarding the short- and long-term impacts of debit card interchange fees on micro-transaction sales helped to create an environment to affect future change," said NAMA president and chief executive Carla Balakgie.
The NAMA president described the event as an important step in strengthening the industry's presence in Washington. "The outcome for vending and refreshment services cannot be overstated," she reported. "We are building the right relationships that will enhance our ability long-term to ensure our industry's voice is heard.
"We will continue to weigh in strongly on issues that have measurable impact on our members, both now and in the future," Balakgie pledged. "The bottom line is that we consider advocacy to be Job No. 1, and the discussions that our board of directors conducted signal a significant move forward as we continue to work on these issues, day in and day out."
photo | UNDER THE FLAGPOLE: NAMA board of directors gathers in Washington for an intensive round of meetings with government officials to explain the nature of the industry, describe its successful initiatives and detail the dangers posed to operators by ill-conceived laws and regulations.