Get up, stand up

The roofing industry bands together to lobby in Washington, D.C.


“If you have a voice, use it.
If you have legs, stand up.
If you have feet, step up.
If you have each other, fight together.”
- Janna Cachola, actor

For the second year, the roofing industry traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with one voice to members of Congress about issues important to the industry during Roofing Day in D.C. 2019.

From April 3-4, NRCA and its supporting partners welcomed 428 roofing professionals from the contracting, manufacturing, distribution and consulting sectors to Washington, D.C., for the largest government advocacy event of its kind. On the morning of Wednesday, April 3, NRCA Chairman of the Board Kent Schwickert, senior vice president, national business unit for Tecta America® Corp., Rosemont, Ill.; NRCA Chairman of the Board-Elect Nick Sabino, president of Deer Park Roofing Inc., Cincinnati; and NRCA CEO Reid Ribble met with White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney—the first time roofing industry representatives had the opportunity to take important issues directly to the West Wing.

"I appreciate the president's chief of staff took the time to meet with us and am pleased with our conversation," Schwickert says. "It's important to discuss these vital issues for our industry, and he was attentive and asked insightful questions as we discussed the roofing industry and our concerns. Although the political environment in Washington, D.C., remains challenging for solving the workforce issues facing our nation, we will continue working to solve them."

After receiving their list of congressional appointments and a briefing about how to conduct a congressional visit, on April 4, roofing professionals met with senators and representatives to discuss immigration reform, infrastructure legislation and worker training.

"For the second year in a row, more than 400 roofing professionals gathered in Washington, D.C.," Ribble says. "No one is better equipped than them to communicate how federal policy affects their businesses and families. Democracy requires participation. I appreciate all who attended this important event."

One highlight for an Illinois delegation from suburban Chicago was visiting the office of Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8), a co-sponsor of the College Transparency Act, which NRCA fully supports.

"The College Transparency Act is a transformative bill that ensures families have greater access to information when they consider which colleges and universities will give them the best return on their investment," Krishnamoorthi says. "Specifically, this legislation will allow families to compare and contrast specific programs of study at postsecondary institutions to evaluate average earnings potential, student debt, employment rates and other important metrics to better prepare young Americans for good-paying jobs. With an extreme shortage of qualified workers for in-demand industries such as roofing and national student debt equaling $1.6 trillion, we need to encourage more students to pursue careers that match their skills, their interests and the demands in their local labor markets."

For those who attended meetings on Capitol Hill, it was evident the roofing industry's presence was felt throughout the congressional buildings, and members of Congress appreciate the time and interest the roofing industry dedicates to legislative matters.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (Ohio-2) explains: "I always appreciate the opportunity to meet with individuals and groups from my district who are impacted by the laws coming out of Washington. Their insights are invaluable to my staff and me as we work to shape policy. In fact, I think it's important that members of Congress listen to the experts back home. I encourage you to get to know your representatives and share your perspective on the important policy issues before Congress."

Mark your calendars now for Roofing Day in D.C. 2020, which will be held April 21-22.

Ambika Puniani Reid is editor of Professional Roofing and NRCA's vice president of communications and production.

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