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Largest-ever Franchise Appreciation Day crowd takes the Hill: momentum growing for IFA annual grassroots event.

Breaking all previous Franchise Appreciation Day celebration turnout records, more than 300 franchisee, franchisor and supplier members of the International Franchise Association flocked to Capitol Hill Sept. 13, telling senators, representatives and congressional staff members in 180 meetings about the importance of franchising to local economies, and urged their support for a pro-franchising agenda that includes enactment of small-business health plans, lawsuit reform and easier access to business ownership for veterans.

The Sixth Annual Franchise Appreciation Day events began a day earlier with a thorough briefing of attendees and a leadership dinner, sponsored by Our Town America, which honored IFA Legislator of the Year, House Small Business Committee Chairman Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.).

The following day, the grassroots activists formed in state delegations to plot out their congressional visits, hear from, and ask questions of, speakers from the Bush Administration and Congress, including Jeffrey Kupfer, executive director of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. The panel will soon deliver recommendations to President Bush on changes to the tax code affecting business and personal taxation.

U.S. Reps. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) and Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.) gave attendees their views on the congressional agenda from both sides of the aisle. Hector V. Barreto, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, addressed the group about the important partnership between the SBA and the IFA.

During a luncheon sponsored by The UPS Store, famed Washington journalist Bob Woodward regaled the audience with stories from the Watergate era up through his long interviews with the current president.

Energized by the morning session, these franchisee community leaders then boarded buses for Capitol Hill and trekked to the offices of their senators and representatives. At day's end, the foot-sore attendees re-grouped in the House Judiciary Committee hearing room to exchange notes and relax with lawmakers and staff members. The reception was sponsored by 7-Eleven, Dunkin' Brands, ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing, Golden Corral, Jani-King, McAlister's Deli, Money Mailer, PIP Printing and Document Services, and ServiceMaster Clean.

Later, 60 franchise leaders gathered for the first FranPAC Congressional Dinner, slated to become an annual event, at the popular Caucus Room restaurant. Featured guests included Reps. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) and Dan Boren (D-Okla.), who are also franchisees. The dinner raised $14,000 to bolster pro-franchising candidates for the House and Senate. Sponsors of the dinner included Marriott International, FisherZucker, Fishman Public Relations, IFX International and Fran-Systems Worldwide.

Plans are already underway to set new records at next year's Franchise Appreciation Day, scheduled Sept. 25-26, at the Capital Hilton hotel.

For details about Franchise Appreciation Day or IFA's government relations activities, visit

John Gay is vice president of government relations for the International Franchise Association. He can be reached at 202-662-0768 or
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Author:Gay, John (English writer)
Publication:Franchising World
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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