Can we fix it?

The U.S. roofing industry can help influence legislation by getting involved with Congress

Recently, I attended the Carolinas Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association Inc.'s annual convention, and one question I was asked repeatedly was: "What in the world is going on in Congress?"

It looks like once again our elected officials will kick the proverbial can down the road on immigration. I think the best we can hope for is some type of border security measure, but even that is looking shaky. Why is that?

Congress is made up of 535 members. Each one comes to Congress with his or her own worldview and, more important, parochial interests. For example, there are 435 individual members of the House of Representatives each representing about 700,000 citizens. However, the interests of those citizens vary dramatically. The differences in political ideologies, family dynamics and economics are so broad between urban and rural America that spanning the divide between the two has become nearly impossible.

Rural America's economy often is agricultural. Those living in urban areas rarely see how their food is grown, produced or processed. More important, they rarely see who produces those things. It's not at all surprising the leading members of Congress driving the immigration debate come from agricultural economies. But another dynamic is emerging.