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. Out of 141,000 plus member/businesses within NAHB we have had less than 2% of our builder and associates go to Washington, DC and visit with Congress to discuss ways to enact financial reform and maintain Mortgage Interest Deductions for homeowners, as well as other much needed industry legislation, and our members do their best to help the legislators understand our issues and our thoughts on solutions. Understand that 141,000 plus represents one person; the average member has at ten individuals, which could represent at least two votes. We are talking about close to three million voices that Congress should know about. My numbers are ultra conservative so let your imagination run wild!
Ladies and Gentlemen, let's focus on the 2% of singular members; this is 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 still, in many ways, hurting from the great recession. 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 with your state or local HBA within 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. Bringing Home Housing (click here) is the vision and the next action is March 9th through March 13th, the next time you, the member, can participate. The process is very easy and by clicking here you can obtain the 2015 NAHB “Bringing Housing Home”(TM) Legislative ConferenceIn-District Meeting Preparation Check List.
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 help grow our industry. When you are up to speed then take your destiny into your hands and get involved through our NAHB Grass Roots efforts.
I find it humorous 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 141,000, AND GROWING, 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.
Will you make things happen?
submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP