As part of the Associate Member Council of the National Retail Federation (NRF), I was lucky enough to participate in the 75th Washington Leadership Conference, and this is not a conference like the others. The primary goal is for the conference participants to visit the Hill and the Congress and Senate representatives to lobby about retail related issues: geolocation privacy, patent trolls, organized retail crime, healthcare reform, sales tax and tax reform.
We had a full day of training in how to approach the representatives, including full bios, voting records on retail matters and a complete description of the issues and the NRF position on them. We also got to enjoy a wonderful talk by Cokie Roberts from NPR about Washingon's politic life.
The schedule next day was packed visiting different representatives and their staff along with the lobbyist from NRF. In my group, we visited Senator Roger Wicker (R Mississippi), Senator Dianne Freinstein (D. California) and Senator Thomas Carper (D Delaware). And we managed to squeeze a visit to the Capitol as we were leaving.
Ususally in the technology world, it was a unique experience for me to see the U.S. politic system from the front row.