Capital Offensive

First lady Laura Bush was impressed. “I applaud the Jewelers of America … in this important effort,” she said in her Nov. 16 statement denouncing Burma's suppression of democratic freedoms and praising JA's lobbying to bar imported Burmese gems. Her comments illustrate JA's impact in Washington, D.C. “JA is playing a more active role for its membership and is more informed and involved in issues than ever before,” notes jeweler Bill Farmer Jr., Farmer's Jewelry, Lexington, Ky., and chairman of JA's revived political action committee. A number of issues JA now confronts are “far afield of those it has traditionally dealt with,” agrees Peggy Jo Donahue, director of JA's public affairs department. These include reforming the 1879 federal mining law to prevent social and ecological damage, pushing Congress to amend the Burmese Freedom & Democracy Act (2003), and advis

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