ISSA Advocates Storm Washington—VirtuallyBy John Nothdurft | May 28, 2021 << Back to Articles
During National Cleaning Week, ISSA hosted the industry’s inaugural virtual fly-in—the Clean Advocacy Summit. More than 100 Advocates for Clean participated in the event, representing the entire supply chain of the cleaning industry, including manufacturers, distributors, dealers, business service contractors (BSCs), and residential cleaners.
Advocates from more than 20 states met with nearly 50 congressional offices over the course of the two-and-a-half-day event to advocate for policies impacting the cleaning industry. These virtual meetings included the offices of U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), and many more.
ISSA used these meetings to educate members of Congress about the importance of the cleaning industry and advocate for support of a Healthy & Safe Workplace Tax Credit and for tariff relief on critical COVID-19 related products.
Reactions from the summit
Many attendees were inspired by the event and the overwhelmingly positive reactions they received from their congressional meetings. Here are some comments from them:
“I must admit this whole process has been such an inspiration, and I feel like a ‘fish out of water,’ but becoming an advocate for ISSA has sparked a flame in me that I didn’t realize existed. Thank you for all you are doing!”
—Wendy Dixon, owner of American Pride Cleaning Services LLC.
“The Summit was an excellent opportunity to share with congressional offices all the important work the cleaning industry has done to help combat the spread of COVID-19. From helping consumers keep their homes clean to changing up supply chains so we can help people produce hand sanitizer and sanitization products, the industry has been all-hands-on-deck. It was also particularly great spending time with members from all parts of the value chain, including small cleaning company starts-ups who started a business amid the pandemic. Very inspiring!”
—Cate Thorin, government relations manager for Novozymes North America Inc.
“I was a little stressed and intimidated to speak with the senators’ office representatives before the Summit, but your prep work helped build my confidence and gave me direction on what to discuss. Thank you!”
—Lauren Smith, business development manager for Crescent Cleaning Company.
“The ISSA Clean Advocacy Summit was a great way for me to connect with industry members and learn about the important issues impacting our industry. ISSA’s Clean Advocacy Summit showcased the challenges and opportunities for our industry and the importance of advocacy to ensure our industry voices are heard.”
—Jackie Lynn Ray, director of government affairs for The Clorox Company.
“Congratulations on a fantastic ISSA Advocacy Summit last week. My first, and I learned a ton!”
—Sara Gibbons, lead business development manager at Unilever Professional (Seventh Generation).
“I thought the virtual Summit was really good. I have always wanted to do a Hill Day-type tour but felt very unqualified for the exercise. The preliminary meeting and talking points were extremely helpful and made me feel competent and comfortable. I would not hesitate to do it again!”
—Rebecca Kaufold, manager of Government Affairs & Sustainability at Spartan Chemical Company Inc.
“I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the Clean Advocacy Summit. I found it very well done and informative.”
—John Herrity, stewardship manager at Pilot Chemical.
Advocates of the year
ISSA presented its first annual Advocacy awards in conjunction with the association’s Clean Advocacy Summit, honoring cleaning industry leaders and decision-makers who advance policies that strengthen the industry. ISSA selected the award recipients with input from its Government Affairs Advisory Committee.
The recipients of this new award are Kevin Monahan, president of Monahan Partners Inc., and Matt Vonachen, president/CEO of the Vonachen Group.
“We thank Kevin and Matt for their extraordinary advocacy on behalf of the cleaning industry and congratulate them on their well-deserved awards,” said ISSA’s executive director, John H. Barrett.
“The cleaning industry is no less important than other industries who seem to have infinitely more sway in legislative matters,” said Monahan. “ISSA’s effort in this matter is crucial to our industry, an industry which the pandemic shed light on the critical value we provide.”
“I truly believe that ISSA is the nucleus for the cleaning industry worldwide,” said Vonachen. “ISSA members are leading the cleaning industry charge to keep workers and customers safe as businesses reopen. As an association, we have taken on the responsibility to be the leading advocate for the health and safety of the workplace.”
Outstanding Government Service Award recipients
The inaugural ISSA Outstanding Government Service Awards were presented to U.S. Representative Darin LaHood (IL-18-R) and U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-D) for their leadership on some key legislative priorities for the cleaning industry.
Representative LaHood is being recognized for his unwavering support of the cleaning industry and of a Healthy & Safe Workplace Tax Credit and for being a leader on free trade issues. He was one of the first congressmen to tackle the unplanned financial costs associated with workplace safety. On March 17, 2021, Representative LaHood introduced a resolution (H. Res. 248) recognizing March 28 through April 3, 2021, as National Cleaning Week.
Senator Sinema was selected as an award recipient for her crucial assistance in spearheading a Healthy & Safe Workplace Tax Credit, including sponsoring the bipartisan Healthy Workplaces Act (S. 537) in the U.S. Senate. This tax credit would help offset some of the costs of protecting workers and the public from COVID-19 and other illnesses.
Elected officials are more likely to support the cleaning industry when they are educated about the vital role the industry has and will continue to play in protecting public health and strengthening the economy. For this reason, ISSA hopes that cleaning industry leaders will continue to develop relationships with federal and state elected officials and continue to be advocates for clean throughout the year.
Here are three ways to get involved:
- If you couldn’t make the Summit, you can still make your voice heard by taking a moment to reinforce the advocacy of the cleaning profession by urging Congress to pass the Healthy Workplaces Act through ISSA’s Advocacy Action Center.
- Keep up to date with ISSA’s legislative and regulatory updates by joining the Advocates for Clean email list. Signing up will ensure that you hear about critical issues facing the cleaning industry as they happen and how you can be involved.
- Contribute to the ISSA Advocacy Fund (IAF) to help us continue to spearhead a Healthy & Safe Workplace Tax Credit and seek tariff relief in Congress. Fund benefits begin at the US$50 contribution level.
Cleaning industry professionals understand the value of clean and the impact of the industry. While ISSA’s increased presence in Washington, D.C. is important, the impact you can have as a constituent of a member of Congress is invaluable.
For questions regarding how you can get involved in ISSA’s Advocacy efforts, including the Healthy & Safe Workplace Tax Credit, please contact ISSA Director of Government Affairs John Nothdurft.
About the Author.
John Nothdurft is the Director of Government Affairs for ISSA. He can be reached at [email protected].