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Big move by NARI last week: the trade association has hired a lobbyist to represent remodelers' interests in Washington, D.C.

This is all part of a great transformation at NARI as the group really works to become a bigger force not only inthe industry but forthe industry. Sure, NAHB has a very significant presence in D.C., but representing builders takes up a lot of their attention. It's great to see NARI get in the game. And the more people out there advocating for housing the better!

Some more details from NARI:

Thomas M. Sullivan of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP has 19 years of experience in Federal legislative and regulatory advocacy. Tom's background makes him ideally qualified to represent the interests of NARI in Washington, D.C.

In addition to representing a number of clients before Congress and during the regulatory and rulemaking processes, Tom runs the Small Business Coalition for Regulatory Relief ( which serves as a resource for small business stakeholders who work to ensure their interests are represented in the regulatory process.

Before joining the Firm, Sullivan served as the highest ranking government official charged with exclusively advocating the views and needs of small business before government agencies and Congress during his seven-year tenure as Chief Counsel for Advocacy in the Small Business Administration. As Chief Counsel, he headed a team of attorneys and economists who worked to remove regulatory barriers and to elevate small business visibility within all levels of government. The SBA's Office of Advocacy under his tenure helped save America's business community more than $65 billion. Inc. magazine in 2006 named Sullivan "an entrepreneur's best friend in Washington, DC."

Before his appointment to the SBA, he represented the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading business advocacy association. From 1994 to 1998, Sullivan served on the Congressional Affairs staff of the U.S. EPA. He also served at the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

In October 2008, the National Small Business Association named Sullivan the "2008 Small Business Star," their highest government-service award. In March 2005, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council bestowed him with the Small Business Advocate Award and induction into their Hall of Fame. The D.C. Metropolitan Subcontractors Association gave him the First President's Award as Outstanding Public Official, and Fortune Small Business magazine named him a Power 30 Most Influential Folks in Washington.

Upon leaving government, Tom Sullivan joined the Institute for Liberty as their Senior Fellow in Regulatory Policy. Tom was named to the NFIB Small Business Legal Center Advisory Board, and was appointed as an advisor to the Center for Small Business and the Environment.

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