There's Power in Numbers


by Marilou Halvorsen, NJRHA President

330 legislative bills. That’s the daunting number: From liquor license reform and marijuana legalization, to sexual harassment and eliminating the tipped wage, we track each and every proposed bill in New Jersey that could affect, and in some cases, very seriously impact the hospitality industry’s future.

Every day I’m flabbergasted by the amount of proposed changes our government submits without any regard to our unique, labor-intensive industry.

Many times a potential member will ask me or one of my employees, what’s the benefit to joining the association? We’re fast to educate them on our vendor partnerships that provide discounts in all areas of their business, or the networking events where they’ll have fun while making valuable business connections. However, joining the association means more than that:

There’s power in numbers.

Not only are new members joining their peers in having a chance to share their concerns, but they are also joining a battle without ever having to pick up a sword.

We provide platforms where my members can speak out if they want but, more importantly, their dues allow me to produce materials to educate key audiences and to continually meet one-on-one with legislative members to remind them that the hospitality industry is the largest private sector employer in New Jersey.

What’s more important is having our members join in our grassroots meetings to provide legislators with the facts about how their sponsored legislation will impact local businesses and employees.

Often, we see on social media the political extremes spouting false information. Our association, through our grassroots meetings and industry engagement, has become a credible resource for legislators.

With over 25,000 restaurants and hotels, we have the numbers—we just need to rally those numbers to make policymakers listen. Join us in our efforts to help protect our industry.