Regional Legislative Network



Tom Norwalk


Susanne Stirling

California Chamber of Commerce

Vice President, International Affairs


Regional Network

Region 1 – Northeast

John Manzella

President & CEO

Manzella Trade Communications, Inc.

Phone: (716)983-7081


Region 2 – Southeast

Anne Burkett, CGBP

Director, Planning & Economic Development

Madison County Commission

Phone: (256)532-3505


Region 3 – Great Lakes

James Sisto, Esq.

Chief Legal Officer

Law Offices of Robert A. Schuerger Co., LPA



Region 4 – Mid-Atlantic

John Saylor

Commonwealth Trading Partners, Inc.

Phone: (703)373-9653


Region 5 – Midwest

Richard Paullin

Executive Director, International Trade Association of Greater Chicago

Phone: (773)725-1106


Region 6 – Southwest

Darcie Durham

Senior Director – National Strategy and Engagement

The Boeing Company

Phone: (281)226-4511


Region 7 – Pacific South

Mark Ballam

Managing Director

Center for International Business Education and Research, San Diego State University

Phone: (619)594-3947


Region 8 – Pacific North

Susanne Stirling

California Chamber of Commerce

Vice President, International Affairs


Regional Legislative Network - Background

The RLC program has come a long way since we started three years ago. It has been a series of building blocks.

Beginning with the one-page electronic Congressional Meeting Report Form.

Then to the development of the very comprehensive Marketing Toolkit package– first as a printed hard copy version. This version was postal-mailed to the Chairs of our 60 DECs, plus the NADEC steering committee at the time Next was to convert this very complete marketing toolkit to a digital package, which was then emailed to the 60 DECs plus the NADEC steering committee at the time.

The DEC chairs, in turn, were urged to share these materials with their vice chair and advocacy members. The latest building block is that the directory - Congress at your fingertips – will be sent this spring to all 60 DECs, the RLCs, and NADEC Executives and Board of Director member

About the same time about thee years ago, 8 Regional Legislative Coordinators were appointed, covering the same territory as the 8 Hub Directors in the Office of Domestic Operations. These 8 RLCs have between oversight of between 3 and 7 DEC chairs, depending on the territory. We then began getting complete contact information on each of the 60 DEC chairs, working closely with Laura Barmby in the U.S. Department of Commerce. This information included the business name and title, street address, phone and cell, email address and web site.

Why did we need all of this material and information?

Because we wanted to establish in each of the DECs the data and materials that in the past had been only available from Washington or from the steering committee policy and legislative members. Now, for the first time, the RLC could call a DEC chair and ask him to go to his marketing toolkit and pull out one or more materials that might be used in a meeting with a legislator at his local district office, or with an interview with a media person. The RLC or the DEC chair would complete the one-page electronic Congressional Meeting Report Form on the meeting, which also sends the report to a few key NADEC people. We now have a really well seasoned team of 8 trade promotion experts and a new Co-Chair Susanne Stirling who is also RLC region 8. The two of us will be working very closely together.

We want each RLC to become the “go-to” person for trade information in their region. We will keep our RLCs as up-to-date as possible on these key issues, so that now they will be able to be able to brief the DEC chairs, vice chairs and advocacy persons in their oversight region on the latest developments con trade. As they build a two-way dialogue by phone, e-mail and in-person in their region, they will be getting questions that they will be unable to answer. They should forward these to us by e-mail. We will get back to the RLC as soon as possible with a detailed response. We are laser-focused on four issues;

Reduction of adequate funding for the U.S. Commercial Service

Threat of NAFTA withdrawal

Export-Import Bank developments, and

Senate action on the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) legislation

Our strategy to reach congressionals is a “Grassroots” strategy. DEC chairs, vice chairs and advocacy persons should try to reach their Senators and Representatives first through their district director offices in their state, rather than compete with meetings in their Washington offices. As a rule, when congress is in session, most congressionals try to return to their home districts on Thursday evenings, so that they will be in their local offices on Fridays and Saturday mornings.

Use this National DEC Legislative Handout for discussions with your representatives and senators on key Trade Issues in 2017.


Find Your Senators here

Find Your Representative here

Use Congressional Meeting Report Form to Record Your Communications and Visits

Target # 1 - Freshman Congressional Members

Freshman congressional members of the House and Senate often know very little about the benefits of trade promotion in general and in particular about the work of the International Trade Administration (ITA) and the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service (USF&CS).

2017-Senate Freshmen Members

2017-House Freshmen Members

Target # 2 - Appropriations Committees

The members of the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-Science (C-J-S) are particularly important because they are the bodies that review and approve ITA and CS funding.

2017-House Appropriations Committee

2017-Senate Appropriations Committee

Target # 3 - Budget Committees

2017-Senate Budget Committee

2017-House Budget Committee

Target # 4 - Trade Legislative Assistants (TLA)

Unless you have other connections, the first person you will talk with when contacting your members’ Washington office will be the Trade LA. - very important because he/she keeps all the data on trade and helps draft policy papers and positions prior to voting. District Directors in your state work closely with Trade LAs and will forward information you provide to the legislative assistant.

Find out Your Representative's or Senator's TLA Contact Information here!

Target # 5 - House and Senate Leadership

They set policy and establish direction. They will be the most difficult to reach! Note that for each of the above groups, member contact information is provided alphabetically by state. This makes it easy to identify targets in your state. Initial contact for meetings should be made by a DEC member who lives/works in the congressman’s district. Constituents can get appointments when others cannot.

115th Congressional Calendars

115th Senate Calendar

115th House Calendar

NADEC Legislative Toolkit

NADEC Presentation Template for the DEC Leaders (can also be accessed at the web site top menu, under Resources/Articles)