March 19, 2011

"3 Types of Members"

“There are three types of people; those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those who don't know what's happening.”

The above quote is timeless and is attributed to many and, unfortunately with regards to the last two types, practiced by many. One of the great things we enjoy as Americans is the right to take peaceful action for just causes.

As members of NAHB, we are encouraged to work with our state and federal legislators to advance our industry’s initiatives and work with the legislators to effect change. This past week, Wednesday March 16th to be exact, members of our Federation met in Washington, D.C. with members of Congress for NAHB’s annual Legislative Conference. Out of 157,000 member companies within NAHB we had just a little over 500 builder and associates make the trip to “The Hill” to discuss ways to enact financial reform and maintain Mortgage Interest Deductions for homeowners. 500 out of 157,000 or, to make it easier, 0.003% of membership “made things happen” this week in Washington or at least did their best to help the legislators understand our issues and our thoughts on solutions.

Ladies and Gentlemen, those numbers are simply not going to cut it. If our legislators don’t hear ALL of our voices they won’t know that their constituents (you) are suffering and, if you are in the building industry, you know how much suffering you’re dealing with. I know the expense of traveling to Washington is prohibitive to most which certainly, and understandably, explains the low numbers. If that’s the case, how can you contribute your time to advocacy efforts? The answer is participating in your state and in your districts. Just because you can’t make it to Washington doesn't mean you can’t meet with your congressmen and U.S. senators at home, in their office or yours. In fact, I believe that’s a much more effective way to communicate your concerns for your livelihood. The distractions of Washington, at the federal offices, are intense. Meeting them at home places you in a much more relaxed atmosphere and, with not having the external pressures of being in the capitol, your legislators can spend more time discussing your issues, your solutions and more important, your number of people employed in the building industry.

There are certain times of the year when your federal legislators are on recess and our back in your home states. NAHB’s Government Affairs staff can provide you with those dates. I would hope that your career means a lot to you and your future as well. By making things happen you are a part of the process not just watching. If you’re the third type who doesn't know “what’s happening,” start reading your HBA alerts and calls to action. Ask your local president to explain what NAHB is doing on all of our behalf to make our industry well again. When you are up to speed then take your destiny into your hands and get involved through our NAHB Grass Roots efforts.

I always found it humorous, still do in fact, when I hear that “special interest groups” are always lobbying the legislators. We all have a “special interest” and it’s called earning a living and providing for our families. As a person with a career in the building industry I am proud of what we do and I find it a noble industry, particularly the home building and home remodeling disciplines. We provide shelter and a better quality of life for families, as well as those who’d like to start families, and those new or remodeled homes are where memories are made. It’s time for our members, all 157,000, to take SOME action when called upon so we can demonstrate our passion to those in positions to help us.

Like it or not, politics decide everything in life. Make “things happen” to ensure that the right decisions are made.

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman


Ann Garvey said...

Good job Mike... makes me wonder of the folks on the Hill...people we elected... Do they know what is going on in our industry without US telling them? ...I think NOT!, speak out and let them know today.

Monica Sommerfeldt Lewis said...

I also find it interesting that so few members "STAND UP" for our industry. After watching the protest in WI and abroad, we can see the power of numbers and the effect these numbers have on media and government. Associates and their companies represent somewhere between 750,000 and 1 million voters. If we all start to make some noise about what is happening to us, our message can be heard.