On March 6-7, members of NRCA and partner organizations from throughout the roofing industry participated in the inaugural Roofing Day in D.C. With more than 400 roofing industry professionals participating in the event, lawmakers on Capitol Hill heard the roofing industry's voice like never before.
Roofing Day in D.C. 2018 was the first annual industry-wide advocacy event designed to fulfill NRCA CEO Reid Ribble's vision of how NRCA can enhance the industry's image and expand its influence on federal policymaking. In the past, NRCA has provided opportunities for its contractor leaders to meet with senators and representatives on Capitol Hill to build relationships and communicate the views of its members about key legislative issues. But Roofing Day in D.C. 2018 was a much larger venture that brought together roofing industry manufacturers, distributors, service providers, contractors and other industry participants.
Roofing Day in D.C. is a core component of NRCA's One Voice initiative, which was launched in 2017 to unite the roofing industry and marshal greater resources to speak collectively about matters critical to the industry's growth and continued success. As a result, NRCA has been reaching out to manufacturers, distributors, architects, consultants and service providers to help them become more engaged with NRCA.
By holding a large annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C., in coming years, Roofing Day in D.C. will enable the roofing industry to have a greater influence on Capitol Hill by speaking with one voice about government policy issues affecting roofing industry employers and workers. By hearing directly from constituents, lawmakers gain a better understanding of how legislation and regulations affect roofing industry employers and may become more energized to address industry concerns and priorities.
On Tuesday, March 6, Roofing Day in D.C. 2018 participants gathered at the Marriott Marquis hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., and received advocacy materials conveying the unified roofing industry message regarding key policy issues. Participants then attended a reception featuring special guest Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman and President Trump's director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney provided an update about administration policies of interest to the roofing industry, including implementation of the recently passed tax reform law and regulatory issues.
On Wednesday, March 7, participants gathered for a breakfast program that featured Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Johnson, who ran a manufacturing business in Wisconsin before being elected to the Senate in 2010, has worked closely with NRCA on several business-related issues, including tax, regulatory and immigration reform legislation. His leadership was instrumental in ensuring businesses structured as pass-through entities, including many NRCA members, benefited from the tax reform law approved by Congress in December 2017. Johnson provided an overview of the upcoming congressional agenda and provided insights about recent political developments.
Following the breakfast program, participants heard a presentation from Mike Gula, president of Washington, D.C.-based Prime Advocacy, a consulting firm retained by NRCA to help manage the logistics of Roofing Day in D.C. 2018, who explained how participants could most effectively convey the industry's message during their meetings with lawmakers scheduled for later in the day. At the end of the training session, Gula and Ribble engaged in a mock meeting between a roofing professional and a member of Congress to demonstrate how meetings with lawmakers typically should be conducted.
After the training session, the 400-plus participants went to Capitol Hill to carry the industry's message to Congress. Participants focused on the top three roofing industry policy issues developed specifically for the event based on input from industry stakeholders: regulatory reform legislation designed to reduce burdensome regulations on employers; legislation to improve career and technical education to help address future workforce development needs; and immigration reform that meets the workforce needs of the roofing industry.
Results from the day were impressive: Roofing Day in D.C. participants visited a majority of all Congressional offices, and the large number of roofing professionals visiting Capitol Hill was noticed by Congressional leaders.
The meetings gave lawmakers the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts of the challenges facing roofing industry employers as they work to sustain and grow their businesses. Constituents' meetings strengthen existing relationships and establish new ones with senators and representatives—a key step to help advance the industry's future agenda.
NRCA and partner organizations already are planning for the Roofing Day in D.C. 2019 event to be held in the spring of 2019. The goal is to expand participation annually to strengthen the industry's influence with Congress and ultimately make a difference regarding key policy issues. If you are a roofing industry professional who missed this year's event, you won't want to miss it next year.
Duane L. Musser is NRCA's vice president of government relations.
This column is part of Rules + Regs. Click here to read additional stories from this section.
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