Washington Representation - The Final Piece of the Leadership Puzzle
The members of the Mason Contractors Association of America are incurring a thirty-five percent increase in their membership dues because of the critical need to have their voice heard in the halls of the U.S. Congress, Federal Agencies and the White House; a voice to fight for sound regulations and laws that don't put our industry and way of life as mason contractors at a disadvantage or, worse, endangered. For too long, mason contractors have lacked representation to fight for our views when our elected officials debated new laws. For too long, mason contractors also lacked representation to fight for our positions when federal regulatory agencies such as OSHA developed new guidelines that affected construction.
This lack of a voice in Washington put our industry at the mercy of those in Washington who would regulate us. The Board of Directors of the MCAA and our membership long debated this position and felt that it was critical to have a full-time representative in Washington to fight solely for the best interests of the mason contractor. And the number one issue that drove us to make this significant commitment was ergonomics ? an issue that could devastate our entire industry. So when asked, the MCAA Board and membership agreed to provide the necessary leadership and voted to raise membership dues to provide the resources for the association to hire a full-time Director of Government Affairs, based in Washington, D.C. This person will be charged to work for the best interests of members of the MCAA and, indirectly, for the interests of all mason contractors.
Already, in less than a month's time on the job, the MCAA has established a rapport with numerous elected officials, agencies and key allied associations. In addition, we have joined allied interests in various coalitions to deal with issues that can have dramatic impact on our way of life as mason contractors, such as ergonomics and silicosis.
However, government affairs require a strong effort from everyone in our industry. As mason contractors, you will be asked to become involved in the process. As issues come to the forefront, you will be asked to write or call your elected officials in Washington to let your views be known. It is through this collaborative effort and the action of the 17,000 mason contracting firms in our industry that we will have an effect on how our laws are made and regulations are developed.
To help you understand the issues and their importance to our industry, you will find informative articles in each issue of Masonry on the topics that you will need to know. You will also find in various issues of Masonry guest articles from U.S. Senators and Representatives on key legislative issues facing the U.S. Congress. Your participation will be vital in determining the outcome of our future as an industry.
As the national association representing the interests of our industry's mason contractors, we have been involved in all facets of a mason contractor's business. From promotion and training, to codes to standards to education, the association has provided leadership in all of these areas. With the filling of a full-time position in Washington, D.C., we have taken the step to provide the leadership for contractors in government affairs. We now have the capability to create a presence for masonry in our nation's capital that will be far reaching and pay back dividends to our members for decades.
About the Author
William McConnell is the owner of Architectural Paving & Stone, Inc. He has served as President of the Mason Contractors Association of America and on the Board of Trustees for the International Masonry Institute. McConnell was a recipient of the 2005 C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award.