Representatives from the Illinois Pawnbrokers Association took to Capitol Hill last week to meet with members of Congress to advocate for important issues affecting the pawn industry. As part of the National Pawnbrokers Association’s annual Legislative Conference, pawnbrokers from across the United States came to D.C. to have their voices heard by their elected officials.
The Illinois group met with staff in the offices of Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Representative Eric Sorensen, and Representative Mary Miller. Following a conversation on how a pawn works, the staff appreciated how helpful and educational the discussion was for them. A 2016 Vanderbilt University study suggested that 90% of the population has had no interaction with a pawnshop and does not fully understand how a pawn transaction works. Pawnbrokers believe these meetings and dialogue with officials are crucial to the industry and the communities they serve.
“It was obvious how important this visit was. It is our responsibility to educate lawmakers and their staff. If we leave it to Google or the Hollywood stereotypes, we can find ourselves in legislative trouble,” stated Kelly Swisher, President of the Illinois Pawnbrokers Association.
With nearly 100 pawnbrokers from across the U.S. in attendance, the conference highlighted the power of the pawn industry coming together to make their voices heard and their industry known. “Illinois representation on The Hill in April covered the various regions that our State consists of – Northern, Central, and Southwest parts of Illinois. Each county represents a different type of pawnshop and a different type of consumer. The importance of having members of the
IPA in D.C. helps educate our members of Congress and Senators and their staff. Illinois is unique, and our meetings helped define what pawnbroking is and who we serve daily,” noted Kathy Pierce, IL pawnbroker and Chair of NPA Government Relations.