On February 4th, operators from across the state traveled to Madison for meetings with the lawmakers who represent them. It was WRA’s annual Restaurant Lobby Day, and they were there to advocate for our industry on issues that are critical to your bottom line.
“There is strength in numbers and this year, with our industry under attack on the minimum wage issue, it was especially important for restaurant operators to share their stories,” said Ed Lump, WRA President and CEO. “Lawmakers know that restaurant owners have a finger on the pulse of the community, and they listen.”
Operators attending explained the importance of entry-level jobs, and the loss of jobs that would occur if the minimum wage were raised. They also lobbied for workers’ compensation reforms that would reduce the cost of premiums, a personal property tax exemption for restaurant kitchen equipment and re-certification testing for Certified Food Protection Managers.
The lunch and program were held at the Best Western-Inn on the Park Hotel, on the Capitol Square in Madison. Speakers included Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Chief of Staff to Governor Scott Walker Eric Schutt and Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair Andy Jorgensen. Attendees were then briefed by WRA Vice President of Public Affairs Pete Hanson on key issues affecting our industry, so they were prepared to talk with legislators and staff.
After office visits in the Capitol, operators gathered for “happy hour” and shared stories from their Capitol visits. According to WRA Board Chairman Charlie Gray, “WRA members at Restaurant Lobby Day have a major impact every year. Last year, we won an increase in tourism promotion funding and a ban on local regulation of portion sizes, nutritional values, large sodas, etc. The event is well worth a day of your time.”
If you have questions or comments about Lobby Day or the issues we're working on, please contact the WRA Government Relations Team at 800-589-3211.