Saying Goodbye

NACS recognizes legislators who have been champions for the convenience and fuel retailing industry.

Saying Goodbye

October 2020   minute read

By: Paige Anderson

While partisan political pundits are prognosticating on possible outcomes for the upcoming election, we already know there will be new members of Congress sworn in to the 117th Congress due to retirements, resignations, redistricting or running for other offices. Five senators and 27 representatives have decided not to seek re-election—many who have been longtime friends of the convenience industry. These congressional champions of convenience went above and beyond just voting or co-sponsoring a bill. They met regularly with convenience retailers in their home districts and states, and many participated in a NACS In Store event. They took the time to learn and educate themselves about the industry and became advocates on behalf of their constituents. Whether it be in a meeting, hearing, markup or debate, these members of Congress were vital to advancing important issues of the convenience industry. While there is not enough room to share the names of each senator or representative and how they had an impact on the industry, NACS would like to highlight just a few of these convenience champions.

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY): Before being sworn in as Wyoming’s 20th senator in 1997, Sen. Enzi was an accountant, had served in state and local politics and had owned and helped operate his family’s small shoe business. It was his experience owning and operating a small business that helped make him such an effective senator serving on several powerful committees, such as the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. He passed more than 100 bipartisan bills signed by both Democrat and Republican presidents. His tenure on these important committees put him in a unique position to champion several key issues important to convenience retailers. Interchange fees and payment security, energy and fuels, menu labeling, taxes and health care were just a few of the issues NACS worked closely on with Sen. Enzi and his staff. He also was the first senator to participate in a NACS In Store event during the inaugural year of this signature NACS grassroots event.

Representative John Shimkus (R-IL): Rep. Shimkus has a long history of serving his country and his community before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and after serving in the U.S. Army and becoming a high school teacher, he continued to serve in the Army Reserve, even after being elected to Congress. In Congress, Rep. Shimkus served on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Through his tenure on the committee, he rose to become chairman and ranking member of the subcommittee related to energy and the environment. He also sat on subcommittees relating to health and telecommunications. Food safety and FDA issues, menu labeling, chemical security and issues relating to fuels, the Renewable Fuel Standard, underground storage tanks and electric vehicles were just a few of the topics that NACS had the pleasure of working on with Rep. Shimkus and his staff. Rep. Shimkus never missed an opportunity to meet with convenience retailers in his district or participate in a NACS In Store event. In hearings, he frequently shared with his colleagues how the bills under discussion would impact the convenience industry and his local retailers.

Representative Greg Walden (R-OR): Rep. Walden was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998 after serving in the state legislature. Before coming to Congress, he had owned and operated local radio stations in Oregon. He served on the House Natural Resources Committee, including serving as a subcommittee chairman over forestry and parks issues. He also served on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee and eventually became full committee chairman and ranking member when the party leadership changed in 2019. Through his service on subcommittees relating to telecommunications and energy and power, NACS worked closely with Rep. Walden and his staff on issues relating to menu labeling, data security and privacy, energy and fuels and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Rep. Walden also participated in a NACS In Store event and was one of three members of Congress who helped participate and celebrate NACS’ 100th In Store event last year.

Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX): Rep. Conaway is completing his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before coming to Congress, Rep. Conaway was a certified public accountant and had been the chief financial officer for an oil and gas exploration firm in Texas. National security and food security have been his top issue priorities as he served on the House Armed Services Committee, House Select Intelligence Committee and the House Agriculture Committee. As chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Conaway and his staff worked closely with NACS on the farm bill and ensured convenience retailers had the opportunity to participate in the SNAP program and that retailers had the ability to accept SNAP benefits from customers in need. NACS also worked closely with Rep. Conaway in the implementation of the SNAP program, where the U.S. Department of Agriculture had tried through the regulatory and implementation process to limit and prevent the convenience industry’s participation in SNAP. In addition to meeting regularly with convenience retailers in his district, Rep. Conaway also participated in a NACS In Store event.

Paige Anderson

Paige Anderson

Paige Anderson is NACS director of government relations. She can be reached at [email protected].

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