Trade Policy & Legislative Affairs Committee

The mission of the Trade Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee is to identify, support, and promote the trade policies of the U.S. that will result in an increase in U.S. exports, enhancement of the competitive position of U.S. exporters, and improvement in the U.S. balance of trade. In addition, this committee's mission includes identification, supports and advocacy of key trade legislative issues which impact American exporters (particularly small to medium-sized exporters), the U.S. export competitive position, the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, the U.S. Commercial Service, and the legislative activities of the local DECs.  

These trade legislative issues include matters such as free trade agreements and federal government exporter assistance programs, including, for example, US&FCS Gold Key programs and U.S. Export-Import Bank export financing programs. Trade Policy and Legilative Affairs Committee also identifies foreign trade barriers that hinder U.S. exporters and exports, as well as the U.S. legislative and regulatory policies that are disincentives to exporting.   While performing its tasks Trade Policy and Legislative Affairs committee works together with the Regional Legislative Coordinators who are appointed to coordinate the legislative affairs at eight regional District Export Council networks in the U.S.   

Trade Policy and Legislative Affairs committee includes the following sub-committees and working groups:

• Domestic and Americas Sub-committee

• Asia Sub-committee    

• Europe Sub-committee    

• Middle East and Africa Sub-committee    

• Global Investment in America Sub-committee

Conversation with the Former NDEC Chair, Philip Pittsford . . .  

Q: What is the mission of the National DEC Legislative Affairs Committee? 

A: The mission of the Legislative Affairs Committee is to identify, support and advocate for key trade legislative issues which impact American exporters (particularly small to medium-sized exporters), the U.S. export competitive position, the Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, the U.S. Commercial Service, and the legislative activities of local DECs.   


Q: What are some of the ways in which the Legislative Affairs Committee carries out this mission in relation to local DECs?  

A: The Legislative Affairs Committee has two programs which are specifically designed to assist local DECs and DEC members in their legislative outreach. The first program is the DEC Regional Legislative Network. This Network consists of 8 Regional Legislative Coordinators, who are DEC members from each of the 8 Commercial Service regional networks. These Regional Legislative Coordinators assist in mobilizing local DECs to take action on key trade legislative issues, particularly in the initial stages of the consideration of such issue. The second program is the National DEC Email Alert System. This System sends out email alerts to DEC members nationwide whenever a key trade legislative measure is about to be voted on by Congress and provides a simple way for DEC members to contact their congressional representatives to express their views on such measures.  


Q: How do these Regional Legislative Coordinators assist in mobilizing local DECs to engage in legislative outreach?

A: They assist in facilitating communication between local DECs and congressional members of the U.S. House and Senate, as well as with their congressional staffs, local district directors and constituents. This includes facilitating programs such as USEAC Export Achievement Awards, World Trade Day/Week, US&FCS Gold Key programs and organizing local events and webinars on legislative issues.  


Q: What is the significance to exports and trade regarding the FTA legislation passed in 2012? 

A: October 21, 2012, is an important day to remember in the history of exporting and trade. It was on that day that the South Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements were entered into. These trade agreements will significantly boost American exports, support tens of thousands of American jobs and enhance the competitiveness of American exporters in these markets.  


Q: Did any of the DECs play a role in getting these trade agreements through Congress? 

A: We are proud of the role that the National DEC, the 59 local DECs, and our over 1600 DEC members nationwide played in helping to get this very important legislation enacted.  


Q: What are the legislative issues that lie ahead in 2014? 

A: Among the issues the National DEC will be addressing in 2014 is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership, (TPP), the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB), Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP), and the U.S. Export-Import Bank Reauthorization.

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 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

Joe Schoonmaker

Northeast Regional Legislative Coordinator

New York DEC


David Bowen

Great Lakes Regional Legislative Coordinator

Ohio DEC



Darcie Durham

Southwest Regional Legislative Coordinator

Houston DEC


Lenny Feldman

Southern Regional Legislative Coordinator

South Florida DEC



Susanne Stirling

Pacific North Regional Legislative Coordinator

Northern California DEC



Mark Ballam

Pacific South Regional Legislative Coordinator

San Diego and Imperial Valley DEC



John Saylor

Mid-Atlantic Regional Legislative Coordinator

Virginia and DC DEC



Richard Paullin

Midwest Regional Legislative Coordinator

Illinois DEC


You can use this National DEC presentation for below purposes:

  • National DEC programs
  • Talking points
  • Hints and Tips for reaching out to Senators and Representatives

National District Export Council Presentation


National DEC Members Serving at Trade Policy & Legislative Affairs Committee

John Saylor
Associate & Co-chair of Trade Policy Committee