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By Melvin Gitler


How short a year is. It was just yesterday that I thought if I became President of the Association, I could turn us in a new direction. Directions are easy to turn getting there is the problem. Our Executive Director, Lew Rothbart, has made the transition easy from Jim Hill to me. Fred Barnes is always there when needed. People look to the upcoming year with purpose, goals and new ambitions. I am no different. I see a new strength of our organization. Today we can walk with a swagger. We seem to learn and educate ourselves that all battles can not be won and we have to choose the battles worth fighting. This belief, I believe makes and gives us more respect in the State House. I would like to use that strength and build some new bridges with the Restaurant and Liquor Stores Associations. Those organizations have ideas that we should listen to. They are adversaries but more important they are our allies in many battles. We have to learn that with these Associations that we should have the strength to agree to disagree. I want our organization to be heralded as innovative and progressive. We can no longer stand as one. The issues are too great for any one organization to challenge.

The holidays make us think of all the past challenges that we won and lost. We fought the cigarette ban for years and even though we finally lost the battle it is a good feeling that now casinos may have to ban smoking. I look back to the years when we were not listened to as an organization. Today that does not happen and with Jim Hill creating a solid open door policy with the ABC Director we seem to improve every day in our endeavors.

So as we go into the Holiday Season, let us remember the good and positive things that this association has done in the last 70 years, the kids we helped get through college, the bills we stopped that would have hurt us as well as our customers and most of all the good will we spread through the community.

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