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From the Editor

The Masonry Industry Legislative Conference, held at the end of April, was a mind-boggling achievement for mason contractors, suppliers and quarriers across the nation (see pages 6 and 14). So many good things came out of this event, it's hard to know where exactly to begin.

First off, the joining together of the Mason Contractors Association of America, Brick Industry Association, Building Stone Institute and National Concrete Masonry Association in our nation's capital was an amazing thing. Never before have these organizations joined together for such a significant cause — to promote the industry and support pro-masonry legislation. Each group is to be commended for the intricate planning, thorough organization and the extremely successful execution of this very important event.

Also, as many of the speakers commented, the timing of the Legislative Conference couldn't have been better. With important bills, such as immigration reform, Association Health Plans and estate tax legislation, days away from being voted on in the House and Senate, participants were striking while the iron was hot. The members of Congress were very receptive to hear what business owners in the masonry community had to say about pending legislation.

Which brings us to the great importance of meeting face to face with your members of Congress. Absolutely nothing can replace the personal touch of speaking one on one with your representatives. Phone calls, personal letters and e-mails are fine, but representatives' offices receive hundreds of correspondence and calls each week, especially when hot topics, such as immigration reform, hit the floor for a vote. Dozens of the Legislative Conference participants met face to face with dozens of members of Congress and their staff. You can bet that each representative will remember each of those meetings, the views of the masonry industry, and how certain legislation would affect masonry businesses in the long run.

Although I could go on and on about the positive things that came out of the Legislative Conference, one more meeting that struck me was the White House briefings with the Department of Defense and the Army. For the masonry industry to have a one-on-one meeting with representatives from these two organizations and discuss their needs for better-built, sustainable buildings was definitely an amazing step in the right direction.

The masonry industry accomplished so much at this year's Conference and, with even more participation and effort, everyone will see those accomplishments increase ten-fold. It's certainly a never-ending process, but you have to build the bridges to keep moving forward. The more people who participate, the quicker and easier the bridge will be built. I am certainly looking forward to covering next year's Legislative Conference, and I hope that next year's article will discuss the hundreds of participants and hundreds of meetings with representatives. See you there!



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