“Lobbyist” is NOT a 4-letter word

Kathy Kazava, President of the Georgia Food Industry Association (GFIA), spoke to the Rotary Club of Lawrenceville at their noon meeting on June 10 about the role the GFIA plays in promoting the food business in Georgia.  The organization serves all involved in the food industry, from supermarkets to suppliers.  In addition to providing networking activities, GFIA lobbies the Georgia Legislature on behalf of the food industry.  A lobbyist for 24 years, Kazava cited the need for a trustworthy reputation and for personal contacts with legislators. A main goal is to educate legislators about the impact and effect of certain bills that would impact the food industry.  She offered some examples of recent concerns.  In one case, developers were planning to build a subdivision around the Blue Bell distribution center, which has heavy and loud truck deliveries late into the night.  A legislative bill was passed that gave precedence to the pre-existing entity and freed it from complaints about noise.  The bill allowing grocery stores to sell beer and wine on Sundays was a major victory for the food industry.  Currently a bill allowing pharmacies in grocery stores to offer increased immunizations is before the Legislature.  Kazava offered these examples to demonstrate the role of lobbyist organizations like her own.  Another area where they are active is in studying regulations imposed by government agencies on the food industry.  She creatively used the Four-Way Test as a way to talk about her goals as a lobbyist.

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