This year, Capitol Hill visits took place in person for the first time since the 2020 event, when government restricted public access to Capitol Hill due to COVID. Attendees will meet with their state representatives on March 23.
Pesticide preemption was among this year’s talking points for pest management professionals (PMPs) who are meeting with their representatives while in Washington, D.C. This year, Congress is expected to pass the reauthorization of the 2023 Farm Bill. The NPMA is pushing for the inclusion of pesticide preemption because it would prevent localities from regulating pesticides, and instead ensure agencies with scientific expertise are able to evaluate whether a product is safe and effective. Oversight of pest control would be handled jointly by each state’s lead agency and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If the Farm Bill is passed with pesticide preemption, nothing will change for the 46 states that currently have it. The four states that do not have it will be required to regulate pesticides at the state level.
The 2021 graduates of the NPMA’s Executive Leadership Program, sponsored by WorkWave, were recognized during breakfast on March 22. They were Austin Burns, Burns Pest Elimination, Mesa, Ariz.; Courtney Carace, ACE, Pest-End, Plaistow, N.H.; King Jones III, CT Pest Solutions, Naugatuck, Conn.; Rusty Prewett, Prewett Pest Control, Auburn, Ala.; Mickey Thomas, Arrow Exterminators, Atlanta, Ga. The Executive Leadership Program identifies and trains NPMA members who aspire to be association leaders. Graduates complete a two-year curriculum that includes professional development, training, mentorship and attendance at NPMA events.
U.S. Representative Rick Allen (R-GA), who spoke at the Legislative Panel the morning of March 22, serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He said he and his colleagues currently are working on passage of the Parents Bill of Rights Act, which would require public school districts to publicly post information about students’ curricula and provide parents with lists of books and reading materials available in school libraries. “We want [parents] to know exactly what is being taught to our children,” he said. If we don’t protect our children, what are we going to do? They are our next generation, and I want them to be the greatest generation.”
The NPMA’s Public Policy team and representatives from its State Policy Affairs Representatives (SPARs) program held a meeting on March 22 that was packed with SPARs and Legislative Day attendees. Michelle Moore, the NPMA’s manager of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for states in the eastern part of the country and Josh Reynolds, the NPMA’s manager of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for states in the western part of the country, reviewed proposed and passed legislation currently having an impact on the pest control industry. A panel of SPARs that included Ted Brayton, ACE, Griggs & Browne Co. and chair of the Public Policy Committee; Bonnie Rabe, Rollins Inc. and past chair of the Public Policy Committee; Chris Haggerty, American Pest Control and Vice Chair of the Public Policy Committee; and Bill Welsh, Rose Pest Solutions; shared their experiences meeting with representatives, and offered attendees tips and encouragement. “When there is legislation that affects our industry, that’s when [your] relationships [with state and local representatives] come in handy,” Rabe said.
As is Legislative Day tradition, the 2023 David Cooksey PestVet of the Year was announced; this year’s recipient is Xavier Cugnon, SHRM-SCP, PHR, Arrow Exterminators, Atlanta, Ga. The former Marine established at Arrow Exterminators a Veteran’s Committee that initiated charitable programs that sponsored Christmas for local families, built handicap-accessible ramps for those in need, cleaned up yards at veteran’s homes, and provided pest services for people in need. In addition, he supports his local county program for homeless veterans.
Also announced was the 2023 FMC Award winner: Chris Haggerty, part owner and operator, American Pest Control, Hanna City, Ill. He has been an NPMA board member, and president of the Illinois Pest Control Association. Haggerty currently serves as the NPMA’s SPAR for Illinois, and regularly meets with his representatives to ensure the pest management industry has a voice at the national and local levels.
NPMA Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs J.D. Darr, center, moderated a lively debate sponsored by FMC during the keynote luncheon on March 22. Among the topics conservative Los Angeles Times Columnist Jonah Goldberg, left, and NPR National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson, right, discussed were the upcoming 2024 presidential election and the current banking crisis.
On March 22, afternoon keynote speaker Major Elliott Garrett, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News, shared his experiences as a reporter. He lamented the changes that have affected the ways in which we get our news now. “Local journalism is hurting,” he said as he explained why newspapers across the country have fewer employees than ever before. Corteva Agriscience sponsored his presentation.
Senior policy advisor and leadership consultant Jeff Eggers offered tips on how to be a strong leader during his Control Solutions Inc. (CSI)-sponsored keynote presentation at breakfast on March 23. He explored how company leaders can take performance in their organizations to the next level. “The most successful organizations are those that are least dependent on their leaders,” he said, adding “good leaders prepare the team for change.”
Arkansas Senator John Boozman (R-AR) spoke at the Headquarters on the Hill luncheon sponsored by MGK. The ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry told Legislative Day attendees taking a break from their meetings on Capitol Hill that representatives were working hard to give the pest management industry the stability that comes with pesticide preemption. He said he and his fellow representatives aim to pass the 2023 Farm Bill in September. “Getting the Farm Bill passed is not about Republicans or Democrats,” he said. “It is about regions in the country.”