March 22, 2013

Werner Braun: CRI goes to Washington

Earlier this week, representatives from the Carpet and Rug Institute and its leading members visited our nation’s capital to advocate on behalf of the carpet industry and U.S. manufacturers.

Congress continues to debate many issues of vital importance to CRI’s members. One of the most important is creating a national energy policy with a true “all of the above” approach. Carpet mills, like most manufacturers, use a great deal of energy. Although CRI members have done an outstanding job of improving efficiencies over the past two decades, it is imperative that we have an affordable, dependable energy supply.

In addition to energy policy, CRI’s members advocated strongly for the continued recycling of coal ash from power plants. This refined mineral content is sometimes used as a stabilizer in some forms of carpet backing. Not only does recycling and reuse prevent disposal of the ash, it also helps keep the price of carpet more affordable to the consumer by supplying a safe, reliable feedstock.

Finally, our members educated our leaders on the leadership the industry has taken in recovering and recycling post-consumer (used) carpet. This has been a true success story for the carpet industry and one that has taken place not because of government mandates but because it is the right thing to do for the consumer and for the environment.

Over the course of our two-day trip we met with many members of Congress, including Georgia Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R) and Johnny Isakson (R), along with Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), Tom Price (R-Ga.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), David Scott (D-Ga.), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Rob Woodall (R-Ga.) and the newest member of Georgia’s congressional delegation, Doug Collins (R). In addition to these members, we had productive discussions with senior staff from several other Senate and House offices representing Alabama, Tennessee and Florida.

In conjunction with the visit, CRI also co-hosted — along with Graves — our annual Salute to Congress and the Georgia delegation. Once again this event was held in the Capitol and was widely attended by several members of the Georgia congressional delegation and staffs from congressional offices representing all parts of the country.

It was another great event, and I’d like to extend CRI’s gratitude to Congressman Graves and his staff for all their hard work.

Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.

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