On March 8, PPAI joined the Michigan Promotional Professionals Association (MiPPA) in the state’s capital of Lansing for a Legislative Education And Action Day (L.E.A.D.) in support of the promotional products industry and its professionals in Michigan. The meeting featured a breakfast for state legislators and their staff in the Mackinac Room of the Anderson House of Representatives Building. This is the third year that MiPPA has brought the industry to the state capital, and it was the largest gathering yet, attended by more than 50 state representatives, senators and their staff members.

“On our annual L.E.A.D. Lansing, we educate our state lawmakers about the industry and the professionals in Michigan who make it work,” says Paul Kiewiet, MAS+, MiPPA executive director. “We explain what we do and our efficiency as a powerful advertising medium that can educate the public on public policy issues, help politicians get elected and be very targeted. We tell them about the economic impact that we have on the state and the number of jobs we create. We also describe the typical entrepreneurial owner, the number of women-owned companies and the concerns of small businesses. Our positions reflect the needs of small businesses for a business-friendly environment, access to a well-educated, skilled workforce and good roads for travel and transportation.”

The breakfast meeting educated legislators and their staff members on how the promotional products industry works, its effectiveness and its scope in Michigan, and reinforced connections established at previous L.E.A.D. events. The conversation also touched on industry revenue and job numbers in Michigan and nationally, its high percentage of women-owned businesses and Promotional Products Work! Week. PPAI Public Affairs Director Anne Stone and Public Affairs Manager Maurice Norris were also on hand to add the Association’s perspective to the conversation.

MiPPA President Jane Mitchell, MAS, owner of distributor Jungle Jane Promotions, says, “Our goal was to inform local government officials about the association and the industry. Many said that they didn’t understand the science behind promotional items. During the meeting we shared a few case studies on how using promotional products really drives home political campaigns’ messages and that we didn’t just give out stuff; it has a real purpose.”

Mitchell adds, “We help our industry by getting to know our representatives and senators on an individual basis. If we build that relationship with them, they will be more inclined to call on us for advice on industry-specific issues. It establishes us as subject matter experts, and our input could affect legislation.”