April 2016: Government Affairs: Calling All Mason Contractors

Words: Dan Kamys

April 2016

Stephen BorgBy Stephen A. Borg

It is that time of year again…time to dust off your suitcase and get ready to fly to Washington, D.C. The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) is once again in the planning stages for the 2016 Legislative Conference, and we would love to add your name and state to our roll call for Congressional meetings.

Last year we had over 10 states represented and met with the offices of more than 150 members of Congress. We talked about the over-burdensome regulations coming out of Washington, D.C.; asked Representatives and Senators to cosponsor the Concrete Masonry Products, Research, Education, and Promotion Act; and updated members of Congress on how potential immigration reform would impact our industry and the need for enforcement of the misclassification of employees. It was a very successful conference, and we clearly deepened existing relationships and laid the groundwork to continue expanding the reach of our relationships on Capitol Hill.

I know that taking time to come to Washington, D.C., is a huge sacrifice for 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. These are phone calls that never would have taken place had that local MCAA member not taken the time to start that relationship and begin conversations in Washington. And just as important, if members of Congress are not hearing from the masonry industry, they will be hearing from others, and our story will remain muted or crowded out. A vocal, committed and consistent message is paramount on Capitol Hill, and we have been upping our influence there in recent years. But we can’t stop now! We must continue to expand the number of states represented at the Legislative Conference and the number of members who participate. I would love it if we could include three new states and 10 new members at this year’s Conference.

While the days of hitting Capitol Hill can be long and difficult, we have opportunities to participate in networking events as well. Over the years, we have had behind-the-scenes masonry tours of the Library of Congress and National Cathedral, attended numerous Congressional fundraisers, and hosted fun MCAA member receptions. These events are great not only for networking with mason contractors throughout the country, but also for learning from other contractors who have spent years coming to D.C. to talk with their elected officials. I think the major theme that you will hear from these past participants is that members of Congress love hearing from their constituents. In fact, to do their job as representatives, it is imperative that they hear from you and our industry.

So take the time to visit MCAA’s website at www.masoncontractors.org to register and learn more about the 2016 Legislative Conference. Then join us in Washington, D.C., on May 17–19, 2016!

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