Legislative Conference Puts Face of Industry in Front of Elected Officials
I participated, along with many of our Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) members and Association staff, in the 2005 MCAA Legislative Conference held in Washington, D.C., from June 26-28.
As I listened to the many fine speakers ? such as Senator John Cornyn from Texas, Senator Jim Talent from Missouri and Congressman Charlie Norwood (R-GA) ? I was struck with how every one of our elected officials wanted to hear from us. Speaker after speaker echoed the same thought: that they seek out the input of small business owners such as us. The representatives truly seemed sincere in their desire to help us and did not wish to harm our ability to make a profit. They realize that small business profit invariably finds its way back to the local community in the form of more jobs, more donations and more local involvement.
Senator Talent spent much of his time with us describing how vitally important small businesses are, to not only our national economy, but also to local communities as well. Small businesses are the greatest economic engine for creating jobs and capital. And small business owners support our communities through their many donations to local sports teams and civic groups. I was struck with the thought that we are indeed the backbone of this country.
However, many of us do not contact our elected representative in Washington, D.C., or in the district offices back home because we are intimidated to make a phone call or attend a town hall meeting to voice our views. I was also apprehensive at first, but once I realized that our elected officials really value our input ? on how what they do impacts our businesses and our ability to hire people ? I became more energized in wanting to share my opinions.
Unfortunately, most of us are busy running our businesses, and we often put the act of speaking with our elected officials on the back burner. We justify it by saying that we will do it next week, next month or next year. But we must all make it a priority to let our elected officials know what we think because what they do can directly impact our bottom line faster and stronger than anything else. Regulations that threaten our industry's practices and taxes that are chiseling away at our ability to make a living demand that we get involved and let our elected officials know that we are watching what they are doing. We truly care about how they vote.
The MCAA is ready to help you become involved. Our web site (www.masoncontractors.org) has information on issues of importance to our industry and your future. You can also find your representative and senators' names, addresses and phone numbers on our site as well.
Don't wait to write or call your elected officials. Tell them or their staff how you feel and how you would like them to vote on the issues that you feel strongly about. I know that once you do it the first time, each time will become easier and will help your industry and your business.
About the Author
G. Alan Griffin, President of Griffin Contractors, Inc., has severals years experience in the masonry industry. He is a past president of the Mason Contractors Association of America and the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association. Griffin grew up working in the masonry business founded in 1957 by his father and grandfather, and has since taken over the family business. Griffin was award the C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award for exemplary leadership in advancing the masonry industry in 2007.