Laying the Foundation on Capitol Hill
By Stephen A. Borg
What another great week we had during the annual Masonry Industry Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., May 6-8, 2013. Nearly 25 members of the Mason Contractors Association of America hit Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress and their staffs and to meet with Federal Agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
One of the most exciting aspects to this years fly-in was the participation of several new MCAA members who had never traveled to Washington, D.C., in years past to make their voices heard. One of them told us, “What a week! I would attend again in a heartbeat!”
Not only do we try to make your time in Washington fun, we also allow you to have high-profile meetings with Members of Congress who want to hear your stories and are eager to help you and your businesses succeed.
Over this 1 ½-day period, we met with more than 100 Member of Congress’ offices, where we expressed concerns related to the job-destroying burdens of the overbearing, unneeded regulations coming out of Federal Agencies such as OSHA; pushed for the enactment of a “check-off” program that would benefit the concrete masonry industry through research and development, education, and promotion of concrete masonry products; and expressed our thoughts and concerns over the current immigration reform debate occurring in Congress.
During this time, we also presented our 2013 MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award to Representative Reid Ribble from Wisconsin, Representative (now Senator) Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, Senator Roy Blunt from Missouri, and Senator Tom Udall from New Mexico.
These four Members of Congress have played a vital role in ensuring that small businesses and the construction industry are able to get our economy back humming again, and have thrown their weight behind our efforts to enact a check-off program that would benefit the concrete masonry industry. We look forward to continuing to work with them in the years to come and to work with the many new Members of Congress we were able to reach during this week.
If you have read this column over the years, you may be thinking I am starting to sound like a broken record. But it is important to remember that telling your story is not a once-a-year event. This is just the beginning of your job – telling your story to our elected officials. Each of our elected officials is charged with representing you in government and, without hearing from you, they are not able to adequately represent you and your businesses.
As many of our first-time Conference attendees learned, Members of Congress want and need to hear about your businesses, your stories, and your communities. We need to make sure that they are continually hearing those stories. I would encourage you to invite your Member of Congress to visit one of your jobsites; and visit him or her back in your state and share who you are and how your business is impacting the District as well as how the masonry industry plays an integral role in our local and national economies.
The Keelen Group looks forward to continuing these discussions as Congress continues to do its work through the remainder of 2013. We would encourage anyone who is being impacted, both positively and negatively, by the Federal Government, to keep their eyes out for information related to the 2014 Masonry Industry Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., and join us in ensuring that Congress hears your voice, gets out of the way, and allows the masonry industry to get our economy moving again.
Stephen A. Borg is VP of The Keelen Group, www.keelengroup.com.