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AAHOA Hosts Winning Congressional Day and Capitol Hill Reception

Monday, September 17, 2012
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The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), one of the leading forces in the hospitality industry, hosted its annual Congressional Day & Capitol Hill Reception on Wednesday, September 12, 2012. The AAHOA delegation to Washington, D.C., which included more than 175 AAHOA leaders from throughout the United States, met with 135 Congressional offices to promote AAHOA legislative initiatives.

The first legislative priority that the AAHOA delegates presented to members of Congress involved reauthorizing and modernizing SBA loan programs, including reauthorizing the temporary SBA 504 refinancing and FMLP programs that are set to expire September 27, 2012. Second, the delegates promoted the “Jobs Originated through the Launching of Travel” (JOLT) Act. This program, among other things, would reform visa processing standards and expand the Visa Waiver Program to increase international tourism to the United States. Finally, the delegates supported the proposed “Pool Safety and Accessibility for Everyone” (Pool SAFE) Act. This legislation currently has versions proposed in both the House and Senate that would help hotel owners reasonably comply with mandates arising from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for swimming pool lifts.

The Capitol Hill Reception held later that evening at the United Way Worldwide facility in Alexandria, Va., included keynote speaker Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association; special guest speakers U.S. Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), U.S. Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), Jim Bridenstine, a Republican candidate for Congress from Oklahoma, and Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic candidate from Hawaii running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives who has been reported by some to be a virtual lock to win; as well as guest speakers Sherrie Brach, Executive Vice President of Investor Relations for United Way Worldwide, Diane Farrell, senior director and executive vice president, US India Business Council (USIBC), and Roma Bose, Director of Organizational Development for United Way Worldwide.

“As the voice of hotel owners in this country, our members each have a unique story to tell when it comes to informing members of Congress about how certain legislation affects our industry and small business owners in general,” said AAHOA Chairman Alkesh Patel. “When we arrive on the Hill with such a strong showing of AAHOA leaders, our message is clearly heard, and we create long-lasting relationships with elected officials that will benefit the industry for years to come.”

“Organizations with the size and reach of AAHOA have a responsibility to speak up for the thousands of businesses across the country that will be affected by issues addressed by our legislative priorities,” said AAHOA President Fred Schwartz. “Our leaders and members stepped up and presented a unified front that will impact policymakers on Capitol Hill.”

For more information on AAHOA’s legislative priorities, please visit www.aahoa.com/legislative_priorities.

The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) is THE voice of owners in the hospitality industry. Founded in 1989, AAHOA is now one of the fastest-growing organizations in the industry, with more than 11,000 members owning more than 20,000 hotels that total $128 billion in property value. AAHOA members employ 578,600 full- and part-time workers with a $9.4 billion payroll. AAHOA Officers include Chairman Alkesh R. Patel, CHO; Vice Chairman Mehul B. “Mike” Patel, CHA, CHO; Treasurer Pratik R. Patel, CHA, CHO; Secretary Jay R. “Jimmy” Patel, CHO; and President Fred Schwartz, each of whom works closely with a 33-member Board of Directors to provide direction for the association. AAHOA is dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of its members by inspiring excellence through programs and initiatives in advocacy, industry leadership, professional development, member benefits, and community involvement.

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