May 2014: Government Affairs

Words: Dan KamysMay 2014

Government Affairs

Citizen Lobbyists: MCAA’s Greatest Asset

What an exciting time of the year! The MCAA is, once again, hitting Capitol Hill for its annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. As you are reading this, MCAA members from throughout the country are busy meeting with their members of Congress and the leaders of both political parties to continue our educational efforts on the benefits of masonry and the impact that current legislation and federal regulations are having on our industry. During this 2.5-day period, MCAA members will meet with roughly 100 members of Congress’ offices. After years of flying into Washington, D.C., for this annual event and through coordinated efforts throughout the rest of the year, MCAA has raised its profile with members of Congress, and we have become a trusted ally and sought-after voice in congressional debates. One such example of this fact is the recent invitations the MCAA received from the House of Representatives’ Education and Workforce Committee to participate in numerous roundtables with committee members on the impact of recent government regulations, including the proposed crystalline silica regulation coming out of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on the economy and overall construction economy. While we are extremely excited by our strong and respected profile on Capitol Hill, our work cannot stop here, and our efforts cannot be taken for granted. I would urge you to see these discussions with members of Congress as an investment that is being made on behalf of your companies and the masonry industry. If you could not make it out to Washington, D.C., for the Legislative Conference this year, take the time to meet with your member of Congress in your local community. If you doubt the impact that you can have with a member of Congress, ask MCAA leadership or fellow members who have become citizen lobbyists what the value of this investment is worth to their business. We have had great success in debates during the last couple of years, including passing permanent estate tax reform that is indexed for inflation (saving the industry millions of dollars in estate tax planning and tax hits per year); introducing and moving legislation in Congress that would create a concrete masonry check-off program for the concrete masonry industry, allowing us to compete on a level playing field with competing construction industries; and working diligently to fight back against the proposed silica rule out of OSHA that we have estimated will cost billions of dollars to the construction industry every year if enacted. These successes and efforts would not be possible without the investments that you, the members of MCAA, are making in educating your member of Congress and taking the time to build long-term relationships with those that are charged to represent you. Just as your businesses’ greatest assets are your employees, the MCAA’s greatest asset is you, the members. We want to utilize your experience, your expertise, and your passion to ensure that the masonry industry is allowed to remain strong, to continue to lead the construction industry in our economic recovery, and to be a strong voice on Capitol Hill. With the commitment and investment that MCAA members have made through the years, we literally have saved the masonry industry millions of dollars a year. Let’s continue to take our message to Congress – not only during the annual Masonry Industry Legislative Conference, but every day as you head out to your work sites. Make your voice heard, make your businesses’ impact to the local economy be known, and make a huge investment to your business and our industry by becoming a citizen lobbyist.

Stephen A. Borg is vice president of The Keelen Group,

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