With all the regulatory and legislative issues currently facing the roofing industry and your business, it is essential members of Congress and their staffs hear directly from you. When you engage at the grassroots level, you help strengthen the positions NRCA’s government affairs team takes to Capitol Hill on your behalf. And this is especially true during an election year. Now more than ever, you need to be involved!
There are several ways you can engage politically and help expand NRCA’s grassroots footprint in Congress. Whether you take a few minutes to communicate the industry’s message from the comfort of your home or business or arrange a meeting with one or more of your elected officials, you are helping advance the industry.
The easiest way to get engaged is by communicating your views and concerns to your elected officials. In 2017, NRCA launched the NRCA Grassroots Advocacy Network to streamline the process of sending letters to elected officials. Through this platform, you can access and customize letters regarding important industry issues and send them to your members of Congress in minutes.
The NRCA Grassroots Advocacy Network also provides other political engagement tools that enable you to identify your representatives and share existing relationships and anecdotal stories with NRCA’s government affairs staff. The advocacy network is available at roofingadvocacy.nrca.net.
Another way you can get involved is by building relationships with your elected officials while they are working in your state. Several times throughout the year, members of Congress leave Washington, D.C., for district work periods that allow them to spend time in their home states. Every August provides an extended period of time for congressional leaders to meet with constituents. NRCA encourages you to engage with your legislators regarding roofing issues throughout the year and use district work periods to schedule meetings, business tours and job-site visits. Because Roofing Day in D.C. 2020 was canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is particularly important for legislators to see and hear from you directly this month.
If feasible given the pandemic, a tour of your business or one of your job sites during the August district work period can be a great learning experience for a legislator. A 30- to 45-minute tour is ample time for you to educate a lawmaker regarding major issues affecting your company and introduce him or her to other constituents. NRCA encourages you to find time to build important relationships with your lawmakers. To learn more about organizing a tour with a legislator and access an invitation template, go to roofingadvocacy.nrca.net.
You also can arrange a meeting at your legislator’s local office. Members of Congress schedule office hours in their districts regularly to meet with business owners, local officials and other constituents, and some members hold office hours on Saturdays. Many offices have a dedicated business outreach staff person and/or district director to help you set up a meeting. Meetings with staff can be just as beneficial as meeting directly with a legislator—just ask NRCA CEO Reid Ribble, a former U.S. congressman from Wisconsin’s 8th district!
Given these unprecedented times, states are operating under varying social distancing and safety guidelines, and some offices may not yet be holding in-person meetings. If this is the case, you can schedule phone calls with your congressional leaders and their staffs. I can tell you firsthand from conducting meetings virtually and by conference call during the past few months you will receive just as much if not more attention from lawmakers and their staffs as you would in person. You can still have a productive discussion regarding important industry issues, and you may even get a few more minutes of their time.
Roofing Day in D.C., the roofing industry’s premier fly-in advocacy event, is an effective way you can get involved and engage your members of Congress by meeting with them on Capitol Hill.
In the spring of 2018, NRCA and its partner organizations launched the inaugural Roofing Day in D.C. event to take the roofing industry’s message to Washington, D.C. In 2019, the event attracted more than 425 registered attendees who came together to discuss immigration reform, workforce incentives and building infrastructure with lawmakers. The event is a meaningful opportunity for you and your employees to start building or continue growing relationships with members of Congress.
Planning is underway to make Roofing Day in D.C. 2021 an unforgettable event. Mark your calendars for March 23-24, 2021, when Roofing Day in D.C. will take place at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park. Registration will be available early fall, and additional information will be available soon at nrca.net/roofingday.
The grassroots actions you take can help the roofing industry’s voice continue to amplify and influence in Washington, D.C. For more information regarding NRCA advocacy efforts, visit nrca.net/advocacy or call NRCA’s Washington, D.C., office at (800) 338-5765. It has never been more vital for you to be politically involved on behalf of the roofing industry!
This column is part of Rules + Regs. Click here to read additional stories from this section.