The NECA 2019 NextGen Fly-In was held October 16-17 in Washington, DC. Thirty NECA contractors arrived in the nation’s capital to be the voice of the next generation representing the electrical construction industry.
The meeting began with welcome remarks from the Chairman of the Political Leadership Council (PLC), Ted Brady of Progressive Electric in West Virginia. Brady spoke to the group about the importance of their time in Washington and being a part of the legislative process. Next, Kelly Memphis from the Public Affairs Council, provided an introduction to Capitol Hill and offered insight into what to expect in a congressional meeting.
NECA’s government affairs team later held an in-depth discussion on NECA’s policy issues, with a focus on the three legislative issues that NextGen attendees would discuss in their congressional meetings the following day: 1) Infrastructure investment; 2) Partial payment for change orders; and 3) Authorization of composite plans.
Finally, a bipartisan Chiefs of Staff panel discussion was presented by Brad Howard, Chief of Staff for Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and John Sobel, Chief of Staff for Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA). They offered the opportunity for attendees to ask about what it is like working for a Member of Congress and how to effectively communicate with a congressional office.
Following the meeting was a welcome reception at NECA’s Capitol Hill office, where attendees could network with each other and NECA leadership in attendance, including District VII Vice President Greg Rick of Rick Electric and PLC Chairman Ted Brady. Attendees then had a private tour of the Capitol with Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) to close out the evening.
The second day of the meeting kicked off with NECA’s Policy for Breakfast, where attendees heard from Government Affairs Committee Chairman Greg Rick, who told a story of how he and his family had dinner in Washington, DC at the NECA Convention in 2001, just weeks after the 9-11 attacks. They happened to be seated near Senator Bob Dole and then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. To their surprise, President George W. Bush was also attending a dinner at the same restaurant and came by their table to chat with Greg and his family and thank them for visiting Washington, DC. Greg recalled Senator Dole telling him that “In America, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Patriots.”
Next, Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) addressed the group and discussed his experience as a business owner and how that helps shape his policy agenda in Congress. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) closed out the policy breakfast with a discussion about the importance of bipartisanship and the need for our contractors to be involved at a young age in the legislative process by taking action and meeting with legislators.
NextGen attendees then spent the entire afternoon on Capitol Hill meeting with over 75 Members of Congress to discuss NECA’s policy issues. The meeting ended with a Congressional reception at NECA’s Capitol Hill office, where NECA contractors had the chance to speak with Members of Congress and their staff in attendance.
NECA’s government affairs team thanks the NextGen contractors for taking the time away from their companies to get involved in NECA’s advocacy efforts and speak for the next generation of electrical contractors on Capitol Hill. We look forward to seeing them all at the National Legislative Conference next year!