Lobby Day Recap
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Lobby Day 2004:

IRA Delegation Addresses Hospitality Issues in the State Capitol


May 4 & 5, 2004 marked the IRA’s Lobby Day in Springfield. A delegation of twenty-five Association members headed to the state’s capitol to speak with lawmakers on concerns regarding nutrition and obesity, tourism funding, smoking bans and other restaurant industry issues. The IRA also partnered with the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau for a reception at the Governor’s Mansion on Tuesday evening.


On Wednesday, Sen. Rep. Leader Frank Watson (R-Greenfield) delivered a legislative briefing and answered question regarding several crucial industry concerns, before the IRA’s delegation headed to the capitol. The delegation also had the privilege of meeting with House Rep. Leader Tom Cross (R-Plainfield) and also spoke to Senators while they considered HB 3981, Rep. Fritchey’s (D-Chicago) legislation to prevent frivolous obesity lawsuits against the restaurant industry.  The Senate voted unanimously to pass this legislation.  Congratulations and thanks to all those IRA members that could make it this year. Your grassroots support made a difference!


Mark your calendar: the NRA’s I-GO Network Public Affairs Conference on September 13-14, 2004.  This is an excellent opportunity to lobby your elected officials at the National level.


Sen. Dan Rutherford (R - Chenoa), IRA Chairman Ron DiNella, of Morton's, The Steakhouse, Sen. Mattie Hunter
(D-Chicago) & Sen. Edward Maloney

Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau CEO Chris Bowers & IRA President Colleen McShane

Kathryn Thanas of Lou Mitchell's Restaurants, Sen. Christine Radogno (R-LaGrange), & Ann Rose of Tastee Freez



Mary Blankenbaker of Benjamin's of Galena & Rep. Jim Sacia

Jeff Pinc, Jennifer Thomas & Bob Gibson, all of Micros Systems

Grant DePorter of Harry Caray's Restaurant & Sen. Donne Trotter



Jim LaCost of AGT, Inc. with Justin Rolls & Brian Margulis, both of Flatlander's Restaurant & Brewery

IRA President Colleen McShane, Senate President Emil Jones, Jr. (D-Chicago), & Pamela Dandridge of Ciara's Place

Larry Blankenbaker of Benjamin's of Galena & Tom Coutretsis of Tommy's Greek Express



Ivan Matsunaga of Connie's Pizza & IRA Chairman Ron DiNella of Morton's, The Steakhouse

The IRA Delegation with House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Plainfield)

Mary O'Connor of Unforgettable Edibles Catering and Sen. James DeLeo (D-Chicago)





Special thanks to the IRA's 2004 Golf Committee Chairman, Steven Hartenstein, who helped to organize and execute the reception at the Governor's Mansion & to Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants for catering this excellent event.


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Millennium Park   |   Sept 26 - 30