June 2012: Government Affairs

Words: Dan Kamys Government Affairs Building Momentum on The Hill We had another great and productive annual Masonry Industry Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., May 8-10, 2012. Nearly 25 members of the Mason Contractors Association of America hit Capitol Hill to meet with Members of Congress and their staffs, and to meet with Federal Agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Over this three-day period, we met with the offices of more than 100 Members of Congress, where we expressed concerns related to the job-destroying burdens of the estate tax and alternative minimum tax, and the overbearing, unneeded regulations coming out of Federal Agencies, such as OSHA. We also pushed for the enactment of a “Check-Off” program that would benefit the concrete masonry industry through research and development, education, and promotion of concrete masonry products. Great discussions were held, and Members of Congress heard from their constituents on the current state of the construction industry, ways in which government policies are making it nearly impossible to expand and hire new employees. We also explained how cost effective, safe and green masonry products are to produce and use. During this time, we also presented our 2012 MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award to Representative Dan Lipinski from Illinois, Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon from California, Senator Mike Johanns from Nebraska, and Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts. These four Members of Congress have played a vital role in ensuring that the construction industry gets building again, and that the government uses life-cycle costing in its construction projects. We look forward to continuing to work with them in the years to come, and to working with the many new Members of Congress we were able to reach during this week. All in all, it was a productive and worthwhile event. However, our work does not stop here. This is just the beginning of your job of telling your story to our elected officials. Each of our elected officials is charged with representing you in government and, without hearing from you, they are not able to adequately represent you and your businesses. As many of our first-time conference attendees learned, Members of Congress want and need to hear about your businesses, your stories, and your communities. And, we need to make sure that they are continually hearing those stories. The Keelen Group looks forward to continuing these discussions as Congress continues to do its work through the remainder of 2012 and into the November elections. We would encourage anyone who is being impacted, both positively and negatively, by the Federal Government, to keep their eyes open for information related to the 2013 Masonry Industry Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Join us in ensuring that Congress hears your voice, gets out of the way, and allows the masonry industry to build our economy.
Stephen A. Borg is with The Keelen Group, www.keelengroup.com.

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