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    New AWMA Initiative Takes On State Gov’t Affairs

    Minimum wage and e-cig legislation among main focuses.

    FAIRFAX, Va. — The American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) launched an initiative aimed at providing its members with the ability to take action on state governmental developments that affect their businesses, as well as the convenience store industry in general.

    The State Government Affairs Initiative involves two main components, according to Anne Holloway, AWMA's vice president of government affairs:

    • The appointment of Dirk Smith as the AWMA’s first-ever director of state government affairs. A veteran government relations professional, Smith is founder of the Campaign Finance Solutions Group and has expertise in lobbying and federal election compliance, political action committee management, and government relations best practices.
    • The introduction of a new online AWMA State Advocacy Center on the AWMA website, www.awmanet.org, which tracks key legislation in all 50 states. It also includes a State Action Center where AWMA members can stay abreast of major developments, and quickly and easily communicate with the appropriate public officials.

    "This new, interactive website portal allows AWMA to better promote our grassroots efforts in the states where our industry is facing so many challenges,” said Holloway. “This new initiative will go a long way toward furthering distributors interests across the country."

    The web portal will track many issues of importance to convenience industry distributors, but will specifically focus on four:

    1. State efforts to increase the minimum wage;

    2. Proposed excise tobacco taxes;

    3. Legislation regulating and restricting electronic cigarettes and related products; and

    4. The need for uniform reporting standards for distributors through the Federation of Tax Administrators.

    “AWMA’s State Advocacy Center will be a powerful tool for our members to track legislation and issues at the state level,” said Smith. “The Center also gives us a dynamic platform to engage our governors and state legislators on the issues of importance to our industry, and I look forward to using its capabilities to assist our members.”

    Fairfax-based AWMA is an international trade organization working on behalf of convenience distributors in the United States. Its distributor members represent more than $85 billion in U.S. convenience product sales.

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