Chairman’s Message: Preparing For D.C.

Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman

It’s April and we’re starting to gear up for the upcoming MCAA Legislative Conference. It is May 14-16 in Washington DC. It’s a great opportunity to make a difference. 

I’m going to get on my soapbox for a little bit this month. All the time, I hear people complain about what our lawmakers are doing and/or not doing. I always think to myself, “And what are you doing about it?” If you don’t like what is going on, act. You have a voice. As a voter, your voice matters.  

The upcoming MCAA Legislative Conference provides an excellent opportunity for us to act and make a difference in what our elected officials are doing. It’s a chance for you to meet with politicians and discuss the important issues affecting your company and the masonry industry. A few hot topics that I’ll be discussing while I’m in DC include: 

  • Workforce development  
  • Timber Innovation Act  
  • Guest Worker Program 
  • Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors  
  • Estate Tax 

You can check out MCAA’s position papers at https://www.masoncontractors.org/positions/ to check out what issues are likely to affect us in the masonry industry. 

For those of you who haven’t attended, you may feel intimidated going to the Capitol and meeting with elected officials. I’ve been there before. I remember my first trip and how I was a little nervous before going. Looking back, there wasn’t much to be nervous about, because doing a walk on the Capitol with a group is so much easier than trying it by yourself. It’s also another great opportunity to get to know others in the industry. 

Here are a few things that I think may put your mind at ease if you’re nervous or on the fence about whether to attend: 

  1. MCAA arranges the meetings for you with your members of Congress, saving you the leg work.  
  1. They’ll also make appointments for you with key swing vote representatives. 
  1. You get a briefing of the issues most affecting our industry and businesses before you start your appointments. During breakfast, the Keelen group gives a run-down on the hottest issues to cover. They give you a packet with the information for you to take along. It’s kind of like Cliff Notes, but for legislative bills. 
  1. MCAA will pair you up with someone who can go with you to the meetings. When you go somewhere with someone, it always makes things easier and a little more fun too.  
  1. These elected officials put their pants on the same way you do one leg at a time. They’re normal people. And they really want to hear from youtheir constituents the people that put them (and keep them) in office.  

I know we are all busy. And I totally understand that. We all sometimes get so caught up working in the business that we don’t take time to work on the business. This is part of working on my business. That’s why, as busy as I am, I won’t miss the Legislative Conference. It’s that important.  

Take time to meet with those who are responsible for regulating, taxing and setting rules. It’s our opportunity to inform them about how their decisions impact not only our companies and industry but the economy as a whole. Don’t be “that person” that complains about what is or isn’t happening if you don’t speak out about it. 

As I climb off my soapbox, my lovely bride also encouraged me to remind you of a few other perks available during the Legislative Conference: 

  • Great fellowship, food and drinks 
  • US Bureau of Engraving and Printing Tour 
  • Nighttime Monument Tour 

Susie and I will be bringing our oldest granddaughter, Anna, with us and we’re so excited to show her Washington DC, just as we did our grandson, Will, a couple years ago. It’s an excellent way for her to learn about our government and see all the history available at our nation’s capital. 

I hope we’ll see quite a few of you there next month to help us make a difference. Just like one of MCAA’s slogans says, “Together, we are stronger.”  

Until next month….