Left to right: Frank Hurd, CRI; Larry Cook, Beaulieu; Brian Anderson, Dalton Whitfield Chamber; Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.); Noel Black, GA Power; and Joe Foye, Mohawk.

The Carpet & Rug Institute's recent Annual Capitol Hill Visits and Salute to the Georgia Delegation Legislative Reception in Washington, D.C., attracted the largest delegation in the eight-year history of the event, according to CRI. In a day and a half of back-to-back meetings, the group of 11 participants, working in two teams, met with a total of 25 Congressional representatives and staff from Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and California, to discuss issues of interest to the carpet industry and the North Georgia region.

Participants discussed with lawmakers the need for increased consistency in legislation and a unified energy policy that would enable companies to formulate long-term financial plans. Participants included: Werner Braun, Frank Hurd and Jennifer Mendez, CRI; Rick Hooper, Shaw Industries; Joe Foye, Mohawk Industries; Larry Cook, Beaulieu; Peter Bailey, J&J; Brian Anderson, Dalton/Whitfield Chamber of Commerce, Noel Black, Georgia Power, and Jeremy Stroop, Carpet America Recovery Effort.

Left to right: Jeremy Stroop, CARE; Peter Bailey, Patrick Royster, Carpet Repairs; and Rick Hooper, Shaw Industries.

The Georgia group was joined by Maryland small-business owner Patrick Royster, whose company, Carpet Repair Services of Germantown, Md., participates in CRI's Seal of Approval carpet cleaning certification program as a Service Provider.  

"Businesses across the U.S. are sitting on their expansion plans; sitting on their new hires, because they don't know what the U.S. Congress is going to do to them next," said CRI President Werner Braun. "That's a message that hit home with representatives from both sides of the aisle."

Left to right: Patrick Royster, Carpet Repairs; Peter Bailey, J&J; Rick Hooper, Shaw; Rep. Tom Graves; Werner Braun, CRI; Frank Hurd, CRI; Jeremy Stroop, CARE; Brian Anderson, Dalton Whitfield Chamber; Larry Cook, Beaulieu, Noel Black, GA Power; and Joe Foye, Mohawk.

According to Royster, the scenario is the same for small business owners as well as big manufacturers. "Small businessmen don't want to just go out and make money and then go home - we care about the environment, and we value the opportunity to have a say-so in what happens to us." Royster called the trip "hands-on legwork," referring to the large amount of walking required to travel from one Congressional office to another over the course of an entire day.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. said of the visits, "I like American business and I'm glad to know that the carpet industry is a big part of that."