ABC in Washington DC
Each year the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington travel to Washington DC for a conference and board meeting. As the Board Chair of our Western Washington Chapter, I get the opportunity to represent our chapter at the conference. This year we discussed policies of the organization, voted on issues of the board, reviewed the strategic goals of the organization, and then visited the Capitol to meet up with our legislators.
The National Board’s Four Strategic Goals relate to Health and Safety, Political Advocacy, Workforce, and Membership Growth. Specifically, ABC National wanted us to focus on Workforce and take the message to our lawmakers that we need to improve on our workforce throughout the nation. Currently we have over 500,000 jobs available in the construction industry. By the year 2020 that number will increase to 1.5 to 2 million jobs. Recruiting and training our future workers in a timely fashion is at the top of the list of priorities. There are many apprenticeship bills coming up to vote this term and ABC wants to make sure that our lawmakers are hearing our needs.
Of course, it wasn’t all business. Wednesday night our group went out to dinner and set out on foot to tour the Capitol Mall monuments. After a long day in board meetings, dinner with members, and 15,000 Fitbit steps of touring the monuments, my head hit the pillow at 11:30 knowing that I had to get up at 5:00 am to meet the Vice President.
The next day, myself and other ABC Western Washington members and staff attended the 2017 ABC National Legislative Conference breakfast. The day kicked off with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the keynote address at the breakfast. Vice President Pence spoke about the administration’s priorities, workforce development, apprenticeship, and support for the merit shop industry.
After the breakfast, our group set out to meet with our U.S. Representatives. We had appointments with Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, Congressman Dave Reichert, Congressman Derek Kilmer, Congressman Denny Heck, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, and Congressman Adam Smith. We split up into 3 groups and represented our chapter and membership well. My group met with Reichert, Smith, and DelBene. The most productive meetings were with Smith and DelBene, both believing in and aligning with ABC in improving workforce development and training of high school students, veterans, and out of work homeless people.
I would like to thank the Rafn Company for giving me the opportunity to represent my company, the association, and our industry to the best of my ability.