Local retailers serve as legislative ambassadors

Local retailers serve as legislative ambassadors Cliff Deverell of Hy-Vee Food Store in Vermillion and Wendy and David Lockwood of Pump 'N Stuff in Vermillion served as legislative ambassadors during a meeting with legislators sponsored by the South Dakota Retailers Association.

The Retailers Association Legislative Ambassador Program is an effort to promote closer ties between retailers and the Legislature.

As part of the program, business people from each legislative district were invited by the association to host lawmakers at the association's 105th annual banquet in Pierre Jan. 7, and to participate in a legislative briefing regarding retail issues which are expected to be considered during this year's state legislative session. The briefing session also provides retailers with an opportunity to discuss legislative issues of concern to their particular type of business.

The legislative ambassador program is now in its fifth year, and SDRA Executive Director Jerry Wheeler says it has proven successful in educating retailers about the legislative process and informing lawmakers about issues of concern to the retail sector.

"This program has proven very effective in opening up the lines of communication between retailers and their local legislators," says Wheeler. "By giving business owners a chance to get to know the lawmakers in an informal setting, they feel more comfortable about contacting their local legislators later to express their views on issues of particular concern to their business. It's an educational process, and we think it not only makes our retailers more aware of how important the Legislature is to their everyday work, but also encourages legislators to really consider how their decisions affect their hometown businesses."

The South Dakota Retailers Association is a 3,700-member statewide business organization.

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