Government Relations Council (GRC)

UMAPP is actively involved in monitoring and moving forward issues that are important to our industry. To this end, our Government Relations Council not only advocates on behalf of our members, but goes out and visits our elected officials where they work. Whether that is in St. Paul or Washington DC, we are there and we are vocal!

Representatives from UMAPP attend an industry-sponsored Legislative, Education & Action Day (L.E.A.D.) in Washington DC. every spring. After exhaustive work by the committee, UMAPP representatives secure face-to-face meetings with officials and their representatives. Using a promotional product, a memorable message was delivered.

UMAPP's Government Relations Council is always at work for you, our members, on promoting the industry as a whole and securing important legislation.


The 2013 L.E.A.D. Conference, Washington, D.C.

On April 10-11 the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals (UMAPP) was represented at PPAI's fourth annual Legislative Education and Action Day  (L.E.A.D.) in Washington, DC by: 

            • Bill Benolken - Chairman, UMAPP Government Relations Council (Norwood & BIC Graphic) - Chairperson of UMAPP's Government Relations Council (GRC)

            • David Hawes, MAS+ - Chairman, UMAPP Public Relations Council (Geiger) - a member of UMAPP's Government Relations Council (GRC)

            • Brad Ness, MAS - President, S&S Promotional Group, Inc.- a member of UMAPP's Government Relations Council (GRC)

            • William D. Smith, Jr. - Executive Vice President, Brown & Bigelow, Inc. (a UMAPP member and a L.E.A.D. goodwill ambassador as a representative of the region).       

They were among the 70 industry professionals and PPAI staff members who attended 300 meetings with elected officials during the event.  They conducted 20 meetings with our elected officials from Iowa, Minnesota, North & South Dakota.  Their mission was to protect and promote our industry by emphasizing these important issues: 

            • Support for H.R. 6653 the "Independent Contractor Tax Fairness & Simplification Act of 2012"              

            • The value and benefits of Employee Safety and Recognition Programs

            • The impact of tax rates on small businesses

            • The value of promotional products Testing

House Speaker John Boehner (right) made a surprise appearance at our L.E.A.D. dinner on Wednesday evening.  He spent 15 minutes speaking to us with sincerity, humor, and a very healthy tan.  We were flattered to have the man occupying the third most powerful position in Washington, DC spend time with us.  


Congressman Erik Paulsen after receiving his award for Legislator of the Year (below left).  Left to right:  Brad Ness, David Hawes, Congressman Erik Paulsen, Bill Smith, Jr., Bill Benolken, Mark Jennings (GRAC Chair/PPAI), and Paul Bellantone, President and CEO of PPAI.




(Right)  Bill Smith, Bill Benolken, Senator Amy Klobuchar, David Hawes, Brad Ness  




Minnesota Congressman Erik Paulsen Receives PPAI's Legislator of the Year Award - 2013

As part of PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.), Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN 3rd District) will be honored as the Association’s 2013 Legislator of the Year. The PPAI Legislator of the Year Award recognizes members of Congress who have shown a commitment to small-business interests and success, a willingness to meet with industry professionals and have given their support to issues critical to the promotional products industry. Nominated by David Hawes, MAS+, brand architect with Geiger (UPIC: geiger) and a resident of his district, Paulsen was chosen by a panel of eight judges.

“Congressman Paulsen has championed the cause of small business and met face-to-face with industry leaders,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “He has established a history of being available and listening to the concerns of promotional products businesses and supporting or opposing legislation that impacts the industry.”

In 2011, Congressman Paulsen was the recipient of the first Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals (UMAPP) Legislator of the Year Award and was honored for his efforts in increasing awareness of the governmental challenges affecting the industry and for supporting legislation in the best interests of UMAPP’s members.




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