In April, the masonry industry came together for the very first time in our nation's capital to educate our elected representatives about the issues that face our industry. Never before has our industry united with representatives from the contractor, block, brick and stone segments, working together to advance the common interests of our industry. In fact, never before has the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the Building Stone Institute, the Brick Industry Association and the National Concrete Masonry Association unified to conduct an industry event.
From April 24-26, the industry came together at the inaugural Masonry Industry Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., to present the views of the masonry industry to our representatives in Congress. During the conference, MCAA members, along with supplier attendees, conducted Capitol Hill visits to the offices of more than 30 representatives and senators from 15 states to discuss eight key issues, ranging from the permanent repeal of the estate tax to one of the hottest issues facing Congress: immigration reform.
We spent a half-day participating in appointment after appointment, face to face with members of Congress, to let them know our views on the issues that they are debating. In many of these meetings, we were joined by our stone, block and brick friends in presenting a total masonry view on the issues to Congress. Personally, I have never before experienced such a unified effort on anything that we face as an industry, and I was encouraged by the show of unity.
During our meetings, I also was impressed by the depth of understanding that our elected officials and their staff had on the issues facing us. I was most impressed by how enthusiastic they were to hear our views of how the laws that Congress passed affected our abilities to run small businesses.
It was amazing how influential a group of roughly 60 people were in communicating our masonry message to the decision-makers who write the laws that we live with every day, both personally and in our business lives. What struck me the most was the potential of how much more influential we could be if hundreds of interested mason contractors converged on Washington to seek support for our issues. I would urge every local contractor chapter to send members to next year's Masonry Industry Legislative Conference.
Until then, I would also urge all of you to write your representatives and senators to make your voices heard. As an industry, we cannot rest on the efforts of 60 people. Each one of us must become aware and educated on the issues facing our industry and how they impact our businesses. Then we must educate our elected officials to let them know how we want them to vote on those issues. It's up to you to continue the education process by writing your representative and your two senators.
To make it easy, a briefing on the eight current critical masonry issues, as well as a link to find your elected officials, are available on the MCAA website, at www.masoncontractors.org. Once you have that information, write your elected representatives to let them know what you think. They want to hear from you.
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