By {{Article.AuthorName}} | {{Article.PublicationDate.slice(6, -2) | date:'EEEE, MMMM d, y'}}
Jan. 3 marked the beginning of the 115th Congress, featuring 55 new members of the U.S. House of Representatives and seven new Senators. Both chambers of Congress, under a unified GOP government, have expressed a willingness to work with business owners to promote policies that create the conditions for economic growth and allow merit shop contractors to thrive.

The beginning of the 115th Congress presents a valuable opportunity for members of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) to participate in grassroots advocacy efforts and make their voices heard by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. One way construction businesses can do this is by hosting a lawmaker at a jobsite or training facility in their community.

Elected officials want to hear from their constituents. In order for them to make informed decisions about whether to support certain legislation, they look to industry members and other stakeholders to understand how policies in Washington, D.C., impact the communities they serve. Jobsite visits can serve as an opportunity to discuss relevant issues and reinforce a company’s personal relationship with its legislators.

Hosting a lawmaker at a jobsite is also a great way to call attention to any training or safety programs that a company has in place. As the construction industry braces for a deficit of 1.1 million workers during the next decade, according to forecasts by the Construction Labor Market Analyzer, construction business owners must educate lawmakers on what kinds of employees they are looking to hire and how lawmakers can alleviate some of the barriers they face when trying to train their workforce. Following are a few things to consider when scheduling a tour with a lawmaker:
  • Check the 115th congressional calendar to see when your lawmaker is in your state or district. 
  • Consult with legal counsel to ensure the jobsite visit complies with all applicable laws.
  • Decide on a few key points and messages to convey. Do not overload the legislator with too many facts and figures.
  • Consider planning the visit around a newsworthy event (e.g., Careers in Construction month) to increase media coverage.
  • Introduce the legislator to company officers and management personnel before the tour begins. Use this opportunity to provide a brief history of the company. 
  • Provide the legislator with written information, such as the company’s staff size, gross annual payroll or revenue, number of shareholders, employee fringe benefits, community service projects, cost of safety and environmental compliance, health standards, total dollar investment in plant and equipment, energy conservation efforts, and special programs related to safety, quality, workforce development, apprenticeship and craft training. 
  • Advise employees to download the ABC Action App and review the “issues” tab for the rundown on several key issues affecting the construction industry, such as Right to Work legislation, project labor agreements, and state and local prevailing wage laws. 
Finally, be sure to track what your legislator is doing in Congress and how he or she is voting through the ABC Action Center or on the ABC Action App. Thank them when they support your position, and advise them when their vote harms your company or the construction industry. Continue to inform your legislator about your company’s activities and problems and never hesitate to voice your position on upcoming legislation.

The ABC Government Affairs team is available to help coordinate and promote lawmaker jobsite visits. Contact action@abc.org for more information.

Kelly Tyroler is grassroots coordinator for Associated Builders and Contractors. For more information, email tyroler@abc.org. Read about project labor agreements at thetruthaboutplas.com, learn about intrusive government regulation at halttheassault.com and get real-time updates by following @ABCGovAffairs.

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