Earlier this month, I led a group of our members up on Capitol Hill visiting members of Congress from California and Washington. As a former Californian, this was a great experience for me to interact with some of our members from the state and their elected officials. My group included Mark Quinn and Matthew Bassuk of First Allied Securities in San Diego, CA, and Tod Botten and Bardea Huppert of Farmers Financial Solutions, Farmers Insurance’s independent broker-dealer. Tod was representing Washington State, residing in the Seattle area and working in Mercer Island, WA. Bardi brought the Los Angeles connection, living and working just outside of the city. It was great to see our members bring a solid representation of their states to the meetings to spread the word on issues affecting Main Street Americans.
Our first meeting was with the office of Sen. Maria Cantwell, where Bardi led the meeting, sharing concerns on the pending Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, and the need to preserve independent contractor status. Mark and Tod both underscored the importance of these issues very well. Meeting number two was with the office of Sen. Patty Murray, who has a powerful role in tax reform and serves as the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and also works on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. Tod began the meeting by sharing how Farmers’ advisors are providing retirement advice along with car and life insurance to Main Street investors all over the country. Tod noted he appreciated the opportunity to meet with the staff of his home state senator and that it was a unique and enjoyable experience.
After our Senate meetings, we headed to the Capitol steps for a group photo! Following the photo we headed to lunch on the House side, at which point we split our group, with Mark and Matt heading to the Senate to meet with the staff from Sen. Barbara Boxer‘s office.
Tod, Bardi and I continued on to a meeting with the staff of Rep. Adam Smith, Tod’s congressman from the Seattle area. Tod immediately connected with the Rep. Smith’s legislative assistant, Josh Crosson, who joined us later at our closing reception to continue the discussion with Tod about Seattle and the importance of our issues for its residents.
Up next, we met with Rep. Scott Peters and his staff. Rep. Peters is from San Diego – and Matt and Mark discovered that their office building was in a photo in his office! Being able to meet the congressman was a great experience, and Mark and Matt appreciated the opportunity to connect with him.
Following the meeting with Rep. Peters, Mark and Matt had to wing home to California, so Bardi, Tod and I made our way to Congressman Henry Waxman’s office, Bardi’s home congressman where we managed to say hello to the congressman himself! We rounded out our last meeting of the day by speaking with Paul Beck, legislative assistant for Rep. Anna Eshoo from Silicon Valley. Beck listened sincerely to our concerns.
All in all, our members felt this was a valuable experience in which they were able to make an impact on these concerns that are very important to Main Street investors and the independent financial advisors with whom they work.