September 22, 2022

Written by Dan Deans, Asurion

japac flyin dandeans johnthune 600x300Dan Deans met with Senator Todd Young of Indiana.
 
On September 14th, Jewelers of America conducted its annual Washington, D.C. “Fly-In” to connect JA members with lawmakers and discuss issues important to our industry. Asurion is a proud member of Jewelers of America, and this was our third year participating in this important event, which is led by Jewelers of America’s Political Action Committee, JAPAC.
 
As we walked through the Capitol Building and the halls of Congress, I was reminded of our nation’s Bill of Rights, a founding document of our democracy, especially its First Amendment which guarantees our right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Our ability to meet with our elected representatives was so important to the Founders they placed it in the First Amendment alongside our freedoms of speech, religion, and the press! Jewelers of America plays an important role in guaranteeing that we exercise our fundamental right to make our voices heard by our elected representatives.

This year I visited the offices of Virginia’s and Texas’ Representatives and Senators with the AGTA’s CEO John Ford, and its First Vice President David Nassi (President of 100% Natural, Ltd.). Our goal was to share what makes jewelers unique and educate lawmakers on how their actions impact the success of America’s jewelers. We discussed many issues that are important to the jewelry industry, including:
  • Maintaining a positive economic environment for jewelers. Jewelers and customers value jewelry employees because of the important role they play in the buying decision. It’s in a jeweler’s interests to educate and develop their workers into highly skilled professionals. Many lifetime, well-paid careers began with a first job as a salesperson or at a polishing wheel in a jewelry store! JA is asking for a pro-growth tax policy that allows jewelers to continue hiring and creating highly skilled American workers.
  • The protection of LIFO (Last in First Out) inventory accounting method. First In First Out (FIFO) makes sense with perishable, high turnover merchandise. But a jeweler’s inventory of precious metals and gemstones is a textbook example of non-perishable merchandise! LIFO accurately reflects the reality a jeweler’s business, whose merchandise may be part of their inventory for years. JA is helping lawmakers to understand that LIFO is a realistic accounting method for jewelers.
  • Actions to reduce crime against jewelers. The safety of our customers and employees is every jewelers’ highest priority. Unfortunately, the Jewelers Security Alliance reports that jewelry crime is rising at alarming rates, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. JA is requesting that Congress actively supports the efforts of law enforcement officers to prevent retail crime and reduce threats to our lives and livelihood.
  • Protecting the integrity of our diamond supply. Jewelers are proud of their role in the community, helping customers to choose a symbol of their love, celebrate a special occasion, or treat themselves to something rare and beautiful. JA members take great effort to be sure that jewelry is ethically sourced, and customers can proudly wear it.
In the same way we educate our customers on fashion, rarity, and artisanship, we educated our lawmakers on what makes the jewelry industry important to American workers. As we daily establish trust and loyalty with those visiting our stores, we as visitors to Congress did the same with the representatives we met. It’s a skill that we jewelers have. This is important.

There is evidence the primary author of the Constitution, James Madison, felt that the First Amendment was comprehensive enough that the remaining nine amendments were unnecessary; we may disagree, but it shows the power of our First Amendment rights! We can agree that our fundamental right to speak directly to our elected representatives allows us to argue for our other rights. But what good is a right when it is not used?

Jewelers of America guarantees that our right to be heard remains strong, that our Congresspersons hear our voices, not just during the JA DC Fly-In but throughout the year. Representatives knew of JA before our visit because of the organization’s constant advocacy for many years. I urge everyone to add your voice and become a member, and if already a member consider participating in our next JA DC Fly-In.
japac flyin dandeans meeting 600x300Dan meets with legislators and JA's legal counsel Tim Haake and Associates.
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