This piece started out as an appeal to roofing contractors to join the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) at Roofing Day in Washington D.C. for the third consecutive year. But the coronavirus had different ideas. Initiated by NRCA CEO Reid Ribble, a former U.S. Congressman, the day is set aside for everyone engaged in the roofing industry to call on their legislators.
Whether you planned to join us in Washington D.C. or not this month, I urge you to get involved.
If you are not engaged in politics you may ask, “Why?” and “What’s in it for me?”
Going to Washington as a group greatly enhances the message you bring to your congressional representatives, and we will have to adjust due to the current health crisis. But the point remains the same. When roofing industry interests, including contractors, consultants, manufacturers, suppliers, and others speak up as a group, Congress notices.
Whether you like it or not, the federal government is a partner in your business. You pay the government money and the government provides essential services so your roofing business may operate. The government provides things like public safety to keep your projects safe and secure, or roads and bridges so you can access your projects. There is much more; you get the picture.
If you consider the government a partner, would you not want to have a voice in how it operates? Of course, you have a vote, but ours is a democratic republic run by representatives. Therefore, your senator and congressperson are your partners. If you had a partner who had a functional job with your roofing company and regularly took a cut of the profits, you would want to know them, would you not? And would you not want them to know about you and your roofing business?
At this point in the life of the roofing industry we face a workforce development crisis. The federal government is in control of immigration policies and has the capacity to help with the training of new trade workers. Your congressional representatives need to hear this from you.
What difference could it possibly make?
Most bills that arrive in front of legislators go nowhere. Bills that do make it into law often take years or even decades. The Roofing Day in D.C. initiative, however, has already yielded results with the funding package for workforce training known as the Perkins Act. I do believe this bill made it out of committee and into law at least in part because the roofing industry asked for it.
Further to this, the NRCA has had a lobbying effort in D.C. for years and has numerous other “wins,” such as changes to the tax code allowing enhanced tax benefits for some building owners when they retrofit the roofs of their buildings. Having a large group from the industry engage really empowers the daily work of the NRCA’s lobbyists.
Assuming we get to go to D.C. next year, Roofing Day 2021 is open to all and you do not need to be a member of NRCA to join in the effort. For more information go to www.nrca.net/roofingday.
And one more thing: This is an election year. With everything that has been going on recently, it would be easy to point out that this is a particularly important one. But all elections are important, and your involvement is essential to make the process work. When you stand up for your roofing business, you stand out to your team and your community.