The more the merrier.

For the first time, the American Supply Association joined forces with Plumbing Manufacturers International on a combined legislative fly-in event in Washington, D.C. This year’s ASA/PMI Legislative Fly-In that occurred in early April attracted some 40 member wholesale-distributors and vendors to Capitol Hill for a program that culminated with a day of meetings with elected officials to discuss hot-button industry issues.

Prior to going to the Hill, attendees were briefed on various issues during a three-hour legislative session at the Grand Hyatt Washington. ASA Government Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff New (Mid-City Supply) and PMI President Tim Kilbane (Symmons Industries) delivered opening addresses.

Featured speakers at the briefing included Randi Reid (Kountoupes/Denham Consulting) on marketplace fairness (a major topic of discussion in the wholesale-distribution industry right now), William Kovacs (senior VP, environment, technology & regulatory affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce) on regulatory reform and Dorothy Coleman (VP of tax and domestic economic policy at the National Association of Manufacturers) on tax reform.

PMI CEO Barbara Higgens also provided an informative briefing on the importance of retrofits in the marketplace. ASA and PMI noted that as a country the United States loses 1.7 trillion gallons of water each year, which the U.S. Geological Survey estimates is the equivalent to 16% of treated water never reaching the tap.

“We have estimates that replacing pre-1992 products saves $3 billion gallons of water per day,” Higgens said. “That’s vetted by the EPA and they say that’s a conservative estimate. We advocate getting old and inefficient products out of the field. There is a tremendous savings involved.”

Higgens also cited another statistic where only 5% of the market has transitioned to WaterSense-sanctioned products. “There is a tremendous potential to sell these products,” she added.

The opening day was capped by a networking session and dinner at the City Club of Washington where David Wasserman, the house editor of The Cook Political Report, gave a humorous, but statistically-informed analysis of the presidential, senate, house and gubernatorial races. Wasserman displayed his impressive knowledge of the nationwide political scene, regardless of the size of the race.

Before meeting with their elected officials on Capitol Hill, a breakfast session was held at the Capitol Hill Club where guest speakers included Texas Rep. Randy Weber (introduced by Coburn Supply’s Don Maloney), Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Wisconsin Rep. Tom Petri (introduced by Kohler’s Hugh Ekberg).

For more on the Legislative Fly-In, read Editor Mike Miazga’s column and visit our Blogs section.