AH&LA: WE LOBBY EVERY DAY

To the editor:

I read with interest your April 2005 editorial (pg. 4); however, I take exception to your comment that “AAHOA — unlike any other hotel industry association in the U.S. — has the power to go toe to toe with the federal government.” I can only guess that you are referring to the recent event in which Minister Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, was refused a U.S. visa but spoke by video to the AAHOA conference. After the State Department denied Minister Modi's visa request, the AAHOA leadership exercised their right to do what their members wanted them to do. I am uncertain how this could be your example of going toe to toe with the federal government.

Going toe to toe with the federal government, as I see it, means being in front of the government agencies, departments, the Administration and Congress on issues every day — not just on one visa request. AH&LA is the sole hotel association maintaining a lobbying presence in Washington, DC and representing the industry's interests for more than 90 years. AH&LA's governmental affairs department guards and nurtures a free market lodging economy by connecting with legislators, monitoring regulations and voicing the industry's interests on Capitol Hill.

In those 90 years, we've established a strong relationship with the government, and just as importantly, with the lodging companies to effectively represent their interests. And we're present on every front; some of our recent successes include the increase in the number of H2B visas for seasonal workers, the defeat of a proposal to increase minimum wage by 41 percent, the funding for international tourism promotion, revising the overtime regulations promulgated under the Fair Labor Standards Act for the first time in 50 years, and defeating initiatives to allow taxation of the Internet that would have adversely affected online reservations.
Joseph McInerney
President & CEO
American Hotel & Lodging Association

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