Lise Aangeenbrug, the executive director of Outdoor Industry Association, met with President Biden, Vice President Harris, and eight other business and labor leaders at the White House yesterday. The meeting took place as the Senate continues to push for opening debate on a $579 billion infrastructure bill introduced by the president this spring.
In addition to Aangeenbrug, present at the meeting were leaders from eight other trade groups and labor unions, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, the American Clean Power Association, Business Roundtable, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, North America’s Building Trades Unions, and the National Association of Manufacturers.
“It’s the first time the outdoor industry had a seat at the table like this,” Aangeenbrug told Outside Business Journal. “It was very humbling, because there have been so many people who have worked hard over the years to position our industry to be at the forefront on policy.”
Aangeenbrug said three factors led to this monumental moment for OIA and the industry at large: years of hard work from outdoor advocacy groups; the outdoor economy’s recent surge; and a concerted effort within OIA over the past six months to raise the group’s profile with Congress and the Biden Administration.
“During the meeting, I thanked the president and vice president for having the outdoor industry at the table for the first time,”Aangeenbrug said. “I emphasized that the outdoor industry contributes $778 billion to the economy, and that for us to continue doing that, it’s important that we encourage thriving people, thriving businesses, and a thriving planet.”
In turn, Aangeenbrug said, the administration stressed that the new infrastructure bill up for debate doesn’t represent a choice between jobs and the environment; rather, it’s a plan that aims to support both.
As reported by Bloomberg, President Biden said the leaders present at the meeting “share my belief that it’s both in the interest of business and labor to get this [infrastructure bill] done. And it’s not about energy and that lot versus environment, business versus labor. It’s all about basically a race to the future.”
“I think that’s where we, as an industry, and the administration are very aligned on that point,” said Aangeenbrug, referencing Biden’s position on the bill. “Our mission fits very nicely with where they want to move the economy. I think there are going to be more of these meetings to come. It’s a very exciting time for the outdoor industry.”