Last week CGPR was in Washington, D.C. meeting with government agencies, Senators and Congress on behalf of our client Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS), a leader in DNA marking technology and as part of the Outdoor Industry Association Capitol Summit. One thing that as abundantly clear – it’s still a numbers game.

We had two asks:

  1. To pay attention and to understand the benefits of DNA technology that protects the integrity of U.S. made products
  2. To protect our public lands

For us, it was familiar territory having started my career as a lobbyist working for Friends of the Earth, New York Mayor Edward Koch and in the Carter Administration. What was new was a complete sense of confusion on the Hill.

In fact, during our visit, we witnessed a terrorist drill in the city complete with helicopters and make-believe terrorists and a press corps trying to deal with quirky, hostile and unprecedented rules for covering the President. But what was not new were the young, hard working legislative assistants totally engaged in their work hoping that they can make a difference. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The Department of State, Commerce and the Office of the U.S.A Trade Representative were all interested in the DNA technology, especially in light of today’s focus on Made in America. There is a clear need for the technology and opportunity for legislation that might give manufacturers a break on import duty if they utilize this kind of technology that verifies US origin. ADNAS’ technology marks cotton prior to it leaving the gin and then traces and verifies it throughout the global supply chain.

Consumers expressed their preference for truth in labeling in this recent poll conducted in January. This technology is a source of pride for US farmers that know their product will be protected. The end result? More protection for the consumer.

Summarizing our experience? All bets are off. It’s definitely a new world order – but one thing remains consistent and constant – the importance of numbers and the role they play in today’s news cycle:

  1. The first 100 days of the Trump Administration
  2. The large number of unfilled key appointments. In a CNBC story, as of April 24, 2017, the White House had yet to put forward the names of candidates for 475 of the 554 key positions that require Senate confirmation, according to the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group that advises incoming administrations.
  3. The budget number needed for agreement to pass the continuing resolution
  4. The 20- year span of time included in an executive order to review all national monuments within the Antiquities Act of 1906.

The best numbers from last week were those issued by the Outdoor Industry Association in the 2017 Outdoor Recreation Economy – proving that outdoor recreation is a, “powerful economic engine” and in fact, “is among our nation’s largest economic sectors representing the lifeblood of thousands of American communities and providing livelihoods for millions of American workers.” In short:

  • The outdoor industry contributes $887 billion in consumer spending annually to the U.S. economy
  • The outdoor industry supports $7.6 million American jobs
  • The outdoor industry contributes
    $65.3 billion in federal tax revenu
  • The outdoor industry contributes $2 billion in state and local tax revenu

Another good number? The outdoor industry is bigger in annual spending than education, gasoline and fuels, household utilities, motor vehicles and parts and pharmaceuticals.

Or there is this, each year, Americans spend:

  • More on trail sports gear ($20 billion) than on home entertainment ($18 billion)
  • More on water sports gear ($14 billion) than on movie tickets ($11 billion)
  • More on cycling and skateboarding ($97 billion) than on video games ($61 billion)
  • More Americans participate in outdoor recreation than attend NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL games combined 

Now that is what we call truth in numbers.