(L to R) Omar Elkhatib, senior manager, government relations, The Vision Council; Rep. Matt Cartwright, (D-PA); Ashley Mills, CEO, The Vision Council; Fredric Grethel, managing director, Optical Management Associates, LLC; and Rep. Michael Capuano, (D-MA), met in Washington, D.C. for the 2024 Congressional Hill Fly-In.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council, a trade association dedicated to supporting the optical industry, has announced the successful culmination of its 2024 Congressional Hill Fly-In. Members from the vision community traveled to the nation’s capital and met with more than 20 offices of influential policymakers to discuss pivotal policy matters affecting optical manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Held on April 17-18, the event served as a vital forum for industry voices to resonate during this election year, fostering conversation and collaboration to enhance the optical industry and enable Americans to see and live better, The Vision Council said.

“The success of our 2024 Fly-In reflects the dedication and passion of our members and the vision community to drive positive, large-scale change,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. “Through constructive dialogue with key lawmakers, we're shaping policies that not only bolster the optical industry, but also enhance the daily lives of Americans. Together, we're committed to ensuring better vision, better lives and brighter futures for all.”

On April 17, attendees participated in educational sessions in preparation for their visits on Capitol Hill. Highlights included a panel with former congressman Michael Capuano (D-MA) and congressman Matt Cartwright (D-PA), who offered strategies for engaging with the 118th Congress, and an appropriations overview by Tom Pfieffer, professional staffer on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.

The informational sessions concluded with a legislative overview by Josh Finestone, federal affairs counsel with The Vision Council, a regulatory overview by Rick Van Arnam, regulatory affairs counsel with The Vision Council, and a conversation about VisionPAC, The Vision Council’s non-partisan political action committee that supports elected officials who champion issues affecting the vision care community.

Members of The Vision Council ventured to Capitol Hill on April 18 for meetings with various congressional offices across the Senate and House of Representatives. Conversations centered around existing efforts to promote healthy vision and strengthen consumer access to vision care services and products.

The Vision Council’s ongoing government and regulatory priorities include:

● Advocating for the creation of a comprehensive, fair and transparent exclusion process to allow member companies to request relief from all Section 301 tariffs on imports from China.

● Improving “Made in the USA” policies and making it easier for companies to utilize domestic production and advance the domestic supply chain.

● Including vision care as part of broader health policy to advance new, innovative and cost-effective treatments for individuals, including policies that advance the use of telemedicine.

The Vision Council strongly believes that staying proactively involved on Capitol Hill and supporting candidates who are committed to vision is essential to the future of the industry, according to the announcement. By fostering these connections, The Vision Council aims to establish a lasting impact on policies that shape the industry and affect the millions of Americans that rely on quality eyecare and eyewear.

For more information about The Vision Council and its government relations and regulatory affairs, click here.