Words: Stephen A. Borg
“Hey, Paul… Mark… Hey Mike… Gary…Hey… wait who are you and what state are you from?” “Wait, Jeff… I need to schedule how many meetings this year?!” “We need to find how many fundraisers for our Members to go to?” These are just some of the conversations that I am hoping to have in April and May as we are getting ready for the annual MCAA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. from May 14-16th.
It is more important than ever that we get as many of you as possible to come out and join us as we hit Capitol Hill to tell our stories and share the needs we have as an industry in terms of a workforce shortage, as we battle misclassification of employees and work to include school building in any infrastructure bill.
Over the years we have conducted this “fly-in”, we have met with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and in both houses of Congress. We want our reach to be felt as far and as wide as possible. We want to build relationships with as many elected officials as possible.
Our issues are not partisan, but pertinent. Many of you have joined us in the past but we need you to return and we need new members to join us as well! If we are not telling our story as a collective industry someone else is on Capitol Hill telling it for us or against us. Let me give you a taste of why it is so important for you to join us in Washington, D.C. this year…
There were 10 new Senators sworn into office in January 2019. There were 101 new Representatives sworn into the House in January 2019. Just take a look at this quote from the New York Times describing the incoming House Members: “The House freshman class is also an ideologically diverse one, featuring a mix of arch-conservatives, insurgent progressives and pragmatic centrists who flipped Trump districts, setting up what could be a fractious two years.”
here were 10 new Senators sworn into office in January 2019. There were 101 new Representatives sworn into the House in January 2019. Just take a look at this quote from the New York Times describing the incoming House Members: “The House freshman class is also an ideologically diverse one, featuring a mix of arch-conservatives, insurgent progressives and pragmatic centrists who flipped Trump districts, setting up what could be a fractious two years.”
I am sure you have heard news of extreme policy agendas flying right out of the gate like the so-called “New Green Deal” and have surely been watching the fight between President Trump and Congress over funding for border wall construction and you may be thinking why the heck would I take time away from my business to come to talk to Members of Congress when they are going off the rails and our country is becoming more and more fractured. I understand the sacrifice that it takes to leave your business and come here for 3 days, but please keep reading and let this sink in.
THERE ARE 101 NEW MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. I would guess most of these new members have never been to a construction site. Have never owned a small business, and this is where we need your help! Workforce Development and a guest-worker program for the construction industry are going to remain our top talking points this year in Washington, D.C. and we need you to tell your personal stories of how hard it is for you to find employees.
We need to share with these new Members of Congress that people shouldn’t be bribing university officials to set their kids up, but rather taking a look at a field that lets them earn a great wage while their friends are racking up debt in college, setting themselves up to be debt free earning high five-figure salaries five to six years out of high school.
We need you up on Capitol Hill talking about how you could double the size of your business if you could only find the workforce to handle the projects. I am literally on the Hill walking the halls of Congress every day and I can tell you we are not the only industry struggling to find a quality workforce and making our voices heard. We need to be a strong voice in these discussions and we need your help to educate these new Members of Congress on what a mason contractor is, what a career in the business looks like, and the massive impact we have on the construction industry and the overall economy.
Take the time to join us next month in Washington, D.C. Take the time to make your voice heard. Take the time to make OUR voice heard. Join your fellow contractors as we continue to build relationships with Members of Congress, both old and new, across the country and ensure they remember the day they heard from the MCAA.