A time to share

"You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips."
—Oliver Goldsmith

During my visits with roofing contractors throughout the U.S., I frequently am asked questions about my experience in Congress. I don't mind—it's natural for others to be curious about it. Usually, the discussion centers around dysfunction (which is real and, unfortunately, getting worse) and why it's so difficult for Congress to get things done.

Eventually, the questions begin to be about the roofing industry and how we can be more effective in having members of Congress hear us. In many respects, Congress does hear us. They certainly hear from us. NRCA has four staff members in Washington, D.C., working on roofing-related issues every day. They work hard on your behalf as they inform policymakers about matters that affect you and your business. Whether it be regulations, taxation or immigration policy, NRCA is weighing in. Yet in some ways our staff is handicapped.

When I was in Congress and industry lobbyists would come to talk to me, I listened as best I could. However, when they came to my office with five or 10 folks from my district, I really took notice. Instead of just hearing from a D.C. insider, I was hearing from constituents. More important, I was seeing them. The roofing industry has been heard from but rarely seen on Capitol Hill. Sure, some of you take involvement seriously and communicate regularly with your representatives. However, way too many don't. And then we wonder why our issues are not resolved or, worse yet, things go the other way!