damatoLet’s take a quick look at a pair of events organized by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).

NRCA planned Roofing Day in D.C. April 3 & 4 to bring over 400 roofing-industry stakeholders to our nation’s capital. The mission was to visit with congressional representatives and senators to talk about sensible immigration reform, workforce training, and infrastructure spending.

Roofing Contractor was there to both report on the event and take a turn at lobbying for the industry. Yours truly and RC Group Publisher, Jill Bloom, called on our congressmen and senators. RC Managing Editor, Andrew Dietderich, and Editorial Assistant, Kelly Bloom, handled the reporting duties. Follow these links to see Andrew’s report on Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 along with his report on NRCA’s senior executives’ visit to the White House.

This was the second year in a row that NRCA coordinated this lobbying effort and both years the attendees gave the event high marks. This year I was able to meet my congressman for the first time, having changed districts in a move last summer. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., took a few moments to exchange some of his thoughts on immigration reform and to introduce the staffer whom he has put in charge of assisting him with all immigration affairs.

While I encourage you to read Andrew’s reporting to get the more detailed report, I did want to share just one small take-away from my personal experience calling on my representatives and senators in Washington. NRCA CEO, Reid Ribble, told the group before we headed to “The Hill” that we will see that the people who work in Washington are nice people. Good people trying their best to do good work. Democrat, Republican, Independent, to the person, all good and decent people.

You must stop and think about this in the face of the way the American people think about their Congress. One congressman I visited said that the President’s approval rating was in the 50 percent range, but Congress was somewhere, “…under cockroach”. Ugly visual, and this is from a member of Congress.

Over the years in my visits to lobby in the State House or with my County Councilman, or in the Congress, I have found Ribble’s analysis to be correct. I have never met a politician who, one-on-one, wasn’t a decent and agreeable person. While nearly everything else about politics is frustrating, the people who serve deserve our respect and, when needed, our assistance. The members and their staffers seemed to enjoy hearing the concerns of the roofing industry and learning about what goes on in “the real world”.

Also on the advice of Ribble, a former member of Congress, we were encouraged to invite our congressional representatives to visit our places of business. Several of the Roofing Day participants did just that. I hope to report on those visits sometime in the future. The congressmen all have staffers whose job it is to make their bosses schedule. Visiting constituents in their home districts is routine for a politician.

This leads me to another event being organized by NRCA: National Roofing Week – June 2-8, 2019. This annual weeklong event features ways for the roofing industry and individual roofing companies, suppliers, and manufacturers to remind folks of the important work done by the industry.

So why not use this event as a “hook” to get your congressional representative or senator in to visit you and your employees? I cannot think of a better follow-up to the visits we made during Roofing Day in D.C. than to make the invitation to come celebrate National Roofing Week with you. There is nothing to lose and perhaps a great deal to gain.

Think about it. You invite your congressman to come celebrate National Roofing Week with you. If they agree to come, you can stage a lunch with them and have all your employees on hand. You may invite some of your key clients and suppliers. That would make for some great social media for your company and it would be great if you could have some one-on-one with your congressman to discuss your needs for workforce development.

And if the congressman is not able to come for National Roofing Week, you can at least solicit a letter from them that you can likewise use in your social media and other marketing. It is a way of demonstrating to your employees and customer base that you are engaged in the community. It will also give you a very important “touch” with the Congress.

There is little doubt that the “touch” of over 400 roofing-industry stakeholders during Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 made a lasting impression with the Congress. Call your local congressional office and ask to speak to the “scheduler”. Or better yet, for more information about how to make such a request, please contact NRCA Director of Advocacy and Political Affairs, Nathan Pick, at (202) 546-7584 or npick@nrca.net.