Toy Industry Takes On Washington, DC

May 15, 2017 | More than 40 toy company representatives from coast-to-coast attended The Toy Association’s Washington, DC Fly-In last week, where they met with 28 congressional offices and top federal officials to discuss new and emerging policies impacting the business of toys and play.

“Our annual Fly-In brought our members into contact with two cabinet secretaries and numerous policymakers and government officials over just two days,” says Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association. “Participants covered a lot of ground and achieved remarkable success in communicating their business needs and concerns with those who shape national policy.”

At the May 9-10 event, hot button issues impacting toy companies of all sizes were brought to the forefront, including tax, trade, and regulatory reform. Meetings were also held to address intellectual property protection and implementation of the reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

Speakers included U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Consumer Product Safety Commission Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle, and U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.

"As a first-time participant at the Fly-In, I was thoroughly impressed with our access to high-ranking government officials that genuinely sought the input from large and small businesses,” says Tom Nirschl, CFO and vice president of operations at USAopoly. “When the likes of Wilber Ross, Scott Pruitt, Ron Johnson, and other distinguished representatives take the time express their support for our industry, listen to our regulation and tax reform concerns, and offer availability to their offices going forward, I'm encouraged that our industry's leadership is being heard.”

“It is of paramount importance that our members actively participate in the policymaking process,” says Steve Pasierb, president & CEO at The Toy Association. “We were thrilled to see so many company representatives at the Fly-In, where they got to speak directly with legislators and senior administration officials to advance our industry’s essential advocacy efforts. Events like these help to ensure that the toy community’s best interests and our steadfast commitment to safety stay top-of-mind among lawmakers.”

During the event, The Toy Association presented its annual Champion of Play Awards to U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), and CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle, who were recognized for enriching the lives of children throughout their careers.

A special reception and dinner was also held, allowing The Toy Association Board of Directors, member company representatives, and the ICTI CARE Foundation’s Board of Directors to network and build a greater understanding of each other’s roles within the toy industry.

Details about the 2018 Washington, DC Fly-In will be available on The Toy Association website in the coming months.