Travel Advocate Rep. Cohen Speaks at 14th Annual Legislative Symposium

Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) spoke to over 100 attendees at the 14th Annual GBTA Legislative Symposium, an event that brings business travel professionals to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers to share opinions on key industry issues. Rep. Cohen spoke about his historical fight against discriminatory taxes on rental cars and discussed his new bill regarding airline seat sizes that is gaining momentum.

The new bill addresses both serious concerns related to the relationship between seat size and cabin safety. Regarding passenger comfort, Cohen made the crowd laugh when he said FexEx, which is based in Memphis, treats its packages better than airlines treat their customers. He commented that while comfort is important, seat sizes affect safety as well. Airlines need to be able to evacuate the aircraft in 90 seconds and the shrinking seat sizes impede that process.

Cohen Speaking

GBTA President Christle Johnson, Vice President Mark Ziegler and Executive Director Mike McCormick then presented Rep. Cohen with the inaugural GBTA Navigator Award. GBTA created the Navigator Award to honor Senators and Representatives who have been strong champions for business travelers and the business travel industry.


Representative Cohen has been a longtime champion and the leading Democratic proponent for putting an end to discriminatory taxes on rental cars, which create an undue burden on business travelers and rarely are reinvested back into the travel industry.

In conjunction with the Navigator award, GBTA unveiled the Rules of the Road for optimizing business travel at its 14th annual Legislative Symposium. GBTA mobilized its members to create this declaration of travel reform to guide industry, business leaders and policy makers in creating a travel ecosystem that fosters growth, jobs, safety and efficiency around the globe.


Shane Downey is GBTA's Vice President of Government Relations. In this role Shane oversees GBTA’s lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and Brussels, a nationwide grassroots campaign, and the Business Travel PAC. Shane was recently named a 2019 Association Trends Leading Lobbyist. Shane comes to GBTA with over 11 years of government affairs experience. Prior to joining GBTA, Shane was a Senior Associate at a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. In 1996, Shane oversaw the successful reelection of an Ohio Congressman. Shane is a proud fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He is never without hot sauce and in his spare time enjoys playing with his dog, Murphy.

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