This year’s CEDIA Advocacy Town Hall took place over breakfast on Thursday at CEDIA Expo 2022, championing community involvement at the local legislative level to combat burdensome overregulation. Hosted by Daryl Friedman, global president and CEO of CEDIA, the event featured a discussion led by Darren Reaman, CEDIA director of government affairs, and included Leon SooHoo, president and CEO of Paradyme, and Will Breaux, business development at iconic.systems.
The discussion began with how these advocates initially became involved with fighting against regulation that could cripple the home electronic industry. The catalyst for SooHoo, as well as the current generation of industry advocacy, was the 2008 California rulemaking on appliance efficiency regulations.
“At that time, we were selling a lot of large TV sets,” SooHoo recalled. “My fear was that if they passed that regulation…integrators would [go] out of state, return to California, and take over my business.”
“We don’t always realize the impact that these things have,” added Breaux, speaking of his home state of Texas. “The Mayor of Houston said that the other cities in Texas are going to follow our lead in how we handle this. So, getting involved early [locally] is going to have a positive impact in other cities in Texas and even beyond that.”
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Reaman, who was lauded for his advocacy work in the industry, emphasized the work the organization was doing to keep professionals aware of any state or national legislative action that was on the horizon. However, Reaman said it isn’t enough to be informed—initiative must be taken to get involved.
“If you can’t take the time to step away from that one job or appointment to go and testify at city council, or whatever call to action is needed, what’s your job going to look like next year, or the year after that?” Breaux offered. “When the call to action is out there, we have to step up at that time.”
CEDIA has shined a light on advocacy as one of its core pillars, but it has made it clear that real, meaningful change happens only when professionals and local bodies take the initiative to get involved, give feedback to their local regulators and take action. Friedman also revealed that while discussion at the town hall focused primarily on the state level, the organization will be expanding its advocacy to the federal level, including supply chain issues and the CHIPS and Science Act.