June 27, 2019
On June 19, Jewelers of America brought together a delegation of JA Members to meet on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. With the support of JAPAC, JA’s Political Action Committee, the jewelers in attendance voiced their concerns to key lawmakers at the annual fly-in.

As a continuation from last year, sales tax remained a primary biggest industry concern. President & CEO David J. Bonaparte states that the future holds more battles for sales tax fairness and remarks the importance of JA’s presence in D.C.: “Jewelers of America has made a great deal of progress advocating for issues that affect jewelry businesses, like sales tax fairness, but there is still work to be done and JA is focused on keeping the industry’s needs front and center on Capitol Hill.”

Additionally, concerns about current political affairs were a major conversation topic, specifically tariff changes. This annual meeting, the only one of its kind by a jewelry trade association, gives jewelers a platform to discuss government influence. David urges that “the industry voice needs to be active and present in D.C.” 

Face Time With Senators & Representatives
The attending group began the fly-in with a breakfast at Army-Navy Club to review the main points to be discussed and prepare for Congressional meetings. The highlights of the day included a luncheon with representatives and a dinner at the Monocle with special guest Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR). These meals, funded by JAPAC, allow attendees to continue the conversations past individual meetings. Special guests at the luncheon included Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Rep. and member of House Ways and Means Committee Tom Rice, Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep. Steve Stivers.

The majority of the fly-in was spent in meetings with members of Congress and Congressional staffers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Patty Murray, (D-WA), Rep. Steve Stivers (OH-15), Rep. Elise Sefanik (NY-21) and Rep. Mike Doyle (PA-18). The main discussion topics at the meetings were sales tax fairness, tariffs and LIFO – the last-in first-out accounting method.

JA Members who attended this year’s fly-in include Brian Alter (Beaumont, TX), Jon and Bobbe Bridge (Seattle, WA),  Jenny Caro (Woodbridge, VA), Jeff and Kathy Corey (Waterville, ME) Ronda Daily (Peoria, IL), Pete Engel (Portland, OR). Bill Farmer Jr (Lexington, KY), John Henne (Pittsburgh, PA), Brian Mann (Pentagon, VA) and Joseph and David Molfese (Willowbrook, IL).

Advocacy at the Convention
D.C. insiders will be presenting at Jewelers of America’s National Convention on July 28-29. Attendees will hear from experts on sales tax, elections, the Kimberley Process and tariff regulations. These presentations are unique to the Convention, so jewelers get the D.C. scoop in one place. For more information on registration, click here.    

How You Can Participate

The annual visit to Capitol Hill is just one way that Jewelers of America advocates on behalf of jewelry businesses throughout the year. You can participate through JA's Legislative Action Center, which allows jewelers to contact their legislators directly about the issues on our legislative agenda -- with a few simple clicks. Consider supporting Jewelers of America's Political Action Committee (JAPAC) to help us continue to have influential discussions with legislators that are committed to helping the needs of jewelers. If you'd like to get more involved in JAPAC, contact JA Director of Public Affairs & Education Susan Thea Posnock at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Photographer for JAPAC photos credit line: Abby Greenawalt

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