In a speech at the Independent Insurance Agents& Brokers of America’s legislative luncheon Wednesday, Congressman Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) called on the group to use their “respected” voices on the Hill to put an end to economic instability. “You have the ability to talk about people’s lives and small businesses,” he said about Big “I” members’ lobbying efforts this week.

The newly elected representative of California’s 51st District, just outside of San Diego, has been in Washington since January. A former lawyer who worked with Safeco and Liberty Mutual and who chaired an insurance committee when in the California state legislature, according to his introduction, he called for Democrats and Republicans to reach across the aisle and noted that he “understands the independent agent.”

 “This is a crisis that we’ve created,” he said, referring to the sequester. “The larger businesses have been able to do OK on it, but the small businesses and getting killed … and have not been able to flourish, even though they should be. They should be coming out of this recession strongly, but they haven’t been able because of the lack of confidence in the government, lack of confidence in the economy … they don’t know what the government’s going to do.”

The Big “I”’s Charles Symington, senior vice president of external and government affairs, and January EBA cover person, disclosed during his introduction of Vargas that the group’s lobby, called InsurePac, raised funds for Vargas’ campaign. Vargas stayed through the lunch meal, sitting with the California delegation in attendance at IIABA.

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