Thirty NECA member-contractors representing the voice of the next generation in the electrical construction industry arrived in the nation’s capital this week to attend the NECA 2019 NextGen Fly-In.
Held October 16-17, the meeting began with welcome remarks from the Chairman of the NECA Political Leadership Council (PLC), Ted Brady of Progressive Electric in West Virginia. Brady reiterated the importance of their time in Washington this week and what being a part of the legislative process means. Next, Kelly Memphis from the Public Affairs Council provided attendees with an introduction of Capitol Hill and offered insight into what is expected during 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 for NextGen attendees to discuss in their congressional meetings the following day:
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 attendees the opportunity to ask what it is like to work for a Member of Congress and learned how to effectively communicate with a congressional office.
Following the meeting was a welcome reception at NECA’s Capitol Hill office, where attendees networked with each other and the NECA leadership in attendance, including NECA District Seven Vice President and Government Affairs Committee Chairman, Greg Rick of Rick Electric and PLC Chairman, Ted Brady. To close out the evening, attendees were given a private tour of the Nation's Capital by Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ).
The second day of the meeting kicked off with NECA’s Policy for Breakfast where Greg Rick shared a story about a dinner that he and his family attended during the NECA 2001 Washington DC Convention & Trade Show, just weeks after the 9-11 attacks. His family just happened to be seated near Senator Bob Dole and at the time National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. To their surprise, President George W. Bush was also attending dinner at the same restaurant and came to their table to chat with Greg and his family, thanking them for their visit to Washington, DC. Greg recalled Senator Dole telling him that “In America, we are not Democrats or Republicans, but 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 in the legislative process at a young age by taking action and meeting with legislators.
NextGen attendees then spent the entire afternoon on Capitol Hill meeting with over 60 Members of Congress to discuss NECA’s policy issues. The meeting ended with a Congressional reception where NECA contractors had the opportunity to speak with Members of Congress and their attending staff.