Dust Off Those Suitcases

Stephen A. Borg

I sit down at my desk, having recently returned home from Las Vegas for the World of Concrete/World of Masonry, and all I can think is, “Wow! What an amazing week!” The sun was shining, the convention halls were packed, many new faces showed up to our MCAA Committee meetings and events, and the MASONRY MADNESS events showed the world they better watch out for the next generation of masons! This was my first opportunity to witness the full day of MASONRY MADNESS and I was amazed at the projects these block-layers and young apprentices put together and built. I wish we were able to have every Member of Congress out there watching these hardworking, committed participants competing against one another, while more importantly showcasing their skills and craft. There is no better way for our elected officials to really grasp what the masonry and construction industries are all about than for them to see projects up close and first-hand. And that leads me to my main request for all of you reading this article today. Come out to Washington, D.C. and build a relationship with your Member of Congress.

While Las Vegas was a great event all in its own right, it was much more than just MASONRY MADNESS and World of Concrete. We laid the foundation for what will hopefully be our most widely attended and productive Legislative Conference or “Fly-In” in mid-May of 2018.   It was amazing to see so many new faces at the MCAA Committee Meetings in Las Vegas and I hope you will join us in Washington, D.C. to make our voices heard as an industry as we meet with over 125 Congressional offices from throughout the country.

This year’s Legislative Conference will occur May 14th-17th in Washington, D.C. and I hope you will take the time to block it off on your calendar. We will have some great, fun events such as our Welcome Reception, a great tour of a famous landmark in the area, and many fundraising events you can attend on behalf of your home state representatives.   While we were in Las Vegas, we held a MAC PAC Happy Hour event and broke our record (that was just set last year) for the most funds raised. These funds allow us to support candidates and elected officials who understand our industry and fight for your businesses on a daily basis in Washington, D.C. Our Members always enjoy going to these special fundraisers while they are in town and it is a great way to further expand those relationships that have been built in years past.

And while MCAA always likes to have a good time, the most important aspect of our “Fly-In” will again be the day and a half we spend hitting the Hill and educating Members of Congress and their staff on the issues that are impacting our industry and your businesses. I know that taking time to come to Washington, DC is a huge sacrifice to you, your families, and your businesses, but it is a sacrifice that is well worth your time. I can share numerous stories of Members of Congress or their Chiefs of Staff calling our members to ask them about a certain piece of legislation or checking in on how the local construction industry is faring. Phone calls that would never had taken place had that local MCAA member not taken the time to start that relationship and begin conversations in Washington, D.C. And just as importantly, if Members of Congress are not hearing from the masonry industry, they will be hearing from others and our story will remain silent or crowded out. A vocal, committed, and consistent message is paramount on Capitol Hill and we have been upping our influence on Capitol Hill in recent years.

While you heard many issues discussed in Las Vegas such as the OSHA silica rule, tax reform, immigration reform, and misclassification of employees, we are still formulating our priority list for May and we need your input. Take the time to pick up the phone and call me or the MCAA and let us know what issues are affecting you and your business. After hearing from so many of you in Vegas and throughout the year, I can guarantee you that workforce development will once again be one of our top priorities, especially with the continued talk of a broad bipartisan infrastructure package being enacted in Congress. If Congress passes a multi-year, trillion dollar infrastructure investment package they need to be able to answer the question, “Who is going to do all the work?” This is a great opportunity for us to ensure that Members of Congress continue to hear the deep need that we have for a qualified, committed workforce and our ability to offer high-paying, deeply satisfying careers in the masonry industry.

Will you help make sure Members of Congress know how important this issue is and so many others by joining us and sharing your personal, local perspective and stories? Our voice is only as strong as you make it, so take the time to check out the agenda and register on www.masoncontractors.org and ensure that we have record-breaking attendance in May!