Rental dealers and vendors from across the country gathered last week in Washington, D.C. for the 2018 APRO Legislative Conference. The RTO constituents convened at the nation’s capital to educate members of Congress on the rent-to-own industry, ensuring they understand the nature of the business, the communities they serve and the impact the industry makes on their communities. More than 100 meetings were held on Capitol Hill February 7-9, between RTO professionals from 19 different states and their representatives in the House and Senate. In total, meetings were held with 80 Congressional offices and 25 Senate offices. On Wednesday, February 7, Rent One’s Larry Carrico, David Keen and Trent Agin, Audit Advantage‘s Joe Hickey, APRO Executive Director Jill McClure and APRO Director of Government Relations Apu Naik met with Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL, 8th District) regarding, among other things, the nature of the RTO industry in Illinois. “The Congressman already knew Gopal Reddy and had visited several of his Aaron’s Stores in Illinois, and was therefore very knowledgeable of the rent-to-own industry, along with the economic impact our industry has within the state of Illinois,” says David Keen. “As a small businessman himself, he asked a variety of questions on how Congress can further enhance the growth of small business.” During the meeting, Krishnamoorthi asked for support on a bill he was sponsoring, which the Rent One team felt was more than a worthy cause to advocate for. “Representative Krishnamoorthi mentioned the sponsorship of HR 2353 Perkins Career and Technical Education Program, which passed with bipartisan support in the House and was currently under consideration in the Senate,” according to Keen. “This bill is important to our industry, as it invests in both career and technical education and will help prepare our workers, so they can compete in today’s workforce.” Congresswoman Illena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL, 27th District) met with Benefit Marketing Solutions David Kaye on Thursday, February 8, to discuss the RTO transaction in Florida. “Representative Ros-Lehtinen fully embraced the RTO industry and was very positive in her comments regarding our business model,” says Kaye. “We can only hope that this support continues after her departure this year.” With Representative Lehtinen not seeking reelection in 2018, Florida’s 27th district will be one to watch closely. Across the capital complex in the Senatorial offices, JR Squared Enterprises, dba. Premier Rental Purchase’s Jim Ratner took the opportunity to strengthen a longstanding relationship with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on Thursday, February 8. “I’ve been meeting with Senator Collins every year for the last 10 years,” recalls Ratner. “Her family owns a small business in Maine. She is receptive to our issues and I feel that she would be an advocate for our industry if either federal legislation gets some traction or if something that may have a negative impact on our industry was coming down the pike.” This year’s industry message to legislators focused on informing members of Congress on the rent-to-own industry to avoid misunderstandings and mischaracterizations of the RTO transaction. “If and when future legislative issues arise, we want to make sure our legislators are informed about our industry and know that they have constituents to contact if they have any questions or concerns,” says APRO Director of Government Relations Apu Naik. Click here to view more photos of this years Legislative Conference.