Blain K. Rethmeier has been named senior vice president for public affairs and government relations for the U.S. Travel Association. He will lead lobbying, communications, grassroots and research activities for U.S. Travel, which represents the $1.8 trillion travel industry.
Rethmeier joins U.S. Travel from the American Insurance Association (AIA), where he was senior vice president for public affairs. He succeeds Geoff Freeman, who was recently promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of U.S. Travel.
“Blain is an accomplished leader and a fearless advocate who will help strengthen the travel industry’s voice in Washington and throughout the country,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “Having worked in the highest levels of government and association management, Blain has a distinguished track record and is uniquely qualified to take U.S. Travel’s public policy and advocacy agenda to the next level.”
U.S. Travel continues to build momentum for industry initiatives, the association reports. In 2010, President Obama signed the Travel Promotion Act, which created the Corporation for Travel Promotion, the nation’s first-ever national travel promotion and communications program. This year, U.S. Travel launched a coalition to advocate for U.S. visa reform, leading to legislation currently before the House and Senate. And this month the Transportation Security Administration launched PreCheck, a trusted traveler program that mirrors many recommendations by a U.S. Travel blue-ribbon panel.
"As we advocate for critical legislation that will add an additional 1.3 million jobs to our nation's economy, Blain's wide range of advocacy experience in Congress and in the private sector will greatly enhance the travel industry's ability to impact the debate," said Geoff Freeman, executive vice president and chief operating officer of U.S. Travel.
"There are few industries as vital as travel in terms of job creation, economic growth and consumer relevance," said Rethmeier. "I am excited to join U.S. Travel and to help champion policies that will improve the benefits travel can bring to our economy."
Rethmeier joined AIA in May 2007 from the White House, where he served as special assistant to the President for communications and directed all aspects of public affairs for President Bush’s National Economic Council and Homeland Security Council.
Before joining the White House, Rethmeier served as press secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he helped manage the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito.