Nearly 150 member electrical contractors and chapter staff from around the nation gathered in the Nations Capitol Wednesday for the first day of the NECA National Legislative Conference and Political Leadership Council Summit.
The annual meeting is the premier legislative conference for electrical contractors to hear about the top issues affecting the industry and meet the leaders who are working to provide real solutions.
The day consisted of a policy briefing, which began with a welcome and opening remarks from Nicolaus Feldmann of Eldor Electric, Inc., and the chairman of NECA’s Government Affairs Committee.
“This is a very special conference dedicated to the issues affecting the electrical contracting industry,” Feldmann said. “We could not have had this success without your direct involvement.”
NECA CEO John M. Grau also provided remarks, telling members and staff that the association been very active on a number of initiatives, working with the Small Business Legislative Council on the White House Conference on Small Business.
“NECA is supportive, and we’ll see where we go with it,” Grau said.
Marco Giamberardino, NECA’s executive director of government affairs, later gave a legislative update and briefing.
NECA’s top priorities for 2016 have included a wide variety of issues aimed at ensuring the businesses of electrical contractors continue to grow and prosper. These important issues include investing in the nation’s aviation, energy and water infrastructure; creating new and innovative multiemployer defined benefit pension plans; and calling for the full repeal of the Cadillac Tax on health plans.
Giamberardino also noted the successes of NECA’s work in Washington, D.C., and around the country. NECA has more than 1,600 politically active members and 85 PLC members with 42 PLC chapters. There have been 60 in-District Congressional visits and 500 letters sent to Congress, he said.
“We are leading the industry in so many ways,” he added.
The keynote address was given by Amy Walter, National Editor at The Cook Political Report. Walter talked about 2016 presidential campaign and analyzed the campaigns of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and unpopular nature of their candidacies.
“It’s the most polarization I’ve seen in 40 years,” she said. “The middle has been hollowed out.”
The second day of the conference, which concludes on Thursday, will consist of remarks by NECA President David A. Hardt of Hardt Electric, Inc., and multiple members of Congress, including Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Fred Upton (R-MI), David McKinley (R-WV), Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Pat Meehan (R-PA), following by approximately 200 meetings on Capitol Hill.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION
NECA is the voice of the $130 billion electrical construction industry that brings power, light, and communication technology to buildings and communities across the U.S. NECA’s national office in Bethesda, Md., four regional offices, and 119 local chapters across the country support the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. NECA chapters are independently chartered organizations who work with national field representatives to develop effective labor agreements and market initiatives.