Politics Fitness industry group hires new CEO amid lobbying push
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The fitness industry's trade association has found its new chief executive as it lobbies Congress to provide relief to gyms and health clubs hit hard by the pandemic.
Elizabeth Clark will take over as president and CEO of the Global Health and Fitness Association (IHRSA) in August. Clark has led government relations for the National Confectioners Association since 2011 and previously was an executive director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"I am honored to work alongside and on behalf of this dynamic and evolving industry," Clark said in a statement. "This is an exceptional opportunity to bring my experience to bear for an industry I have been personally committed to for my entire life, and I can't wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work."
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Clark will be the first female chief executive in the group's 40-year history. Clark was credited with successfully lobbying the Trump administration to deem confection manufacturing "essential" amid the pandemic.
IHRSA has been pushing Congress to provide relief to health and fitness facilities, most of which were forced to close for extended periods during the pandemic. While restaurants received specified aid in the American Rescue Plan, the fitness industry did not.
The group says 1.4 million fitness professionals have lost their jobs during the pandemic and 17 percent of clubs were permanently closed as of December 2020. It said the Paycheck Protection Program has not been enough for some gyms to survive.
IHRSA is gathering support for the Gym Mitigation and Survival Act, a bipartisan bill that would give $30 billion in aid to gyms and health clubs. The bill's sponsors, Reps. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), sent a letter to President Biden asking to include the legislation in upcoming spending packages.
Lobbying world .
Alex McDonough, co-chair of Clean Energy for Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign, joined Pioneer Public Affairs as a partner. McDonough previously advised former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) on energy and environmental issues and most recently was vice president for public policy at Sunrun Inc.Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas hired Alex Perkins and Victoria Flood as principals. Flood previously served as senior policy adviser to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). Perkins previously worked in government affairs for Stellantis NV, and before that was a trade counsel for Democrats on the House Ways and Means committee and counsel to Sen.