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July 18, 2005 8:18 AM CDT

MCAA Holds Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.

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On June 26, the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) began a three day Legislative Conference in the Nation?s Capital. More than 40 MCAA members were in attendance. It was also our pleasure to have with us during the meetings the senior officers of the National Concrete Masonry Association.

The Legislative Conference opened with a dinner Sunday night with members, spouses, guests and MCAA staff. Monday morning the conference began in earnest with a breakfast, followed by a host of speakers including Kim Lazor, OSHA?s Chief of Staff, who discussed the agency?s regulatory agenda and provided some interesting statistics about the decline in workplace injuries. Brad Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employee Benefits also spoke to the group about Association Health Plans and their significance to the small business community. During lunch, MCAA members were honored to have Senator John Cornyn of Texas speak about asbestos legislation, tort reform and the controversy over the judicial nominations.

The highlight of Monday?s events, however, was the special briefing held for MCAA members in the Indian Treaty Room of the White House. Speakers were Allison Ho, Special Assistant to the President and Domestic Policy Advisor and Barry Jackson, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff. Allison made a brief presentation on immigration, outlined the President?s plan for addressing enforcement and border security efforts and answered questions about the need to balance homeland security needs and the need to have a stable workforce. Barry addressed the importance of enacting the President?s plan to make the Social Security System solvent well into the foreseeable future. After the briefing, attendees were escorted to an area just outside the West Wing of the White House and given an overview of some of the more important rooms of the People?s House. It was a memorable event.

Members left the White House and headed for Capitol Hill to meet with their Members of Congress and staff. One of the key meetings was with Congressman Charlie Norwood of Georgia, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections of the House Education and Workforce Committee. Dr. Norwood has been a true leader in the effort to bring about reasonable and much needed reforms to several key OSHA standards and been of tremendous help to our industry in our efforts to persuade OSHA to allow us to shape an economically and technologically feasible silica standard. MCAA gave Dr. Norwood our very first ?Foundation of Freedom? award for his dedication to the preservation of our basic liberties.

Monday evening, Congressman Pete Sessions of Texas, a prominent member of the House Rules Committee, joined us at dinner and spoke about the importance of being involved and having a lobbyist in Washington. The Association gave Mr. Sessions a ?Foundation of Freedom? award to honor him for his service to the country and support of the masonry industry.

The Legislative Conference concluded on Tuesday at Noon with a speech by Senator Jim Talent of Missouri. Senator Talent is a man of great vision and integrity and he continues to do everything he can for the small business community in seeking passage of Association Health Plan legislation and meaningful tax reform.

I look forward to another successful Legislative Conference next year and encourage more members to attend this worthwhile event.


About the Author

Marian J. Marshall was the Director of Government Affairs for the Mason Contractors Association of America.

 

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