Volume 12, Issue 4 - May 2011

WDMA Update

Show and Tell

Invite Your Congressperson for a Summer Plant Tour
by Michael O’Brien


Members of the Window and Door Manufacturers (WDMA) Association converged on Washington, D.C., this March to introduce themselves to the 100 newly elected members of Congress and share their first-hand perspectives on issues impacting the industry (see related article on page 20).

Extend the Invitation
If you were unable to join us in Washington this spring—or if you wish to continue the dialog with your representative—we encourage you to invite your congressional member for a plant tour this summer. Congress takes several breaks over the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays and a longer break for most of August. This is an ideal time to invite them to visit your facilities and see firsthand how the economy is affecting your business and your ability to create jobs in their communities.
If you’ve never hosted a legislator before, let us assure you that they welcome the invitation to meet with their constituents. We can provide a plant tour tool kit to walk you through the steps.

Constituent Communication Makes the Most Impact
While WDMA is making inroads on Capitol Hill in our outreach to key committee members, communication directly from their constituents back home reinforces our staff efforts and builds stronger relationships with the legislators whose support we will need when our key issues come up for a vote. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is of particular interest to our industry, and has 12 new Republican members in the 112th Congress, half of whom are freshmen members of Congress (see box below).

"The House Energy and Commerce Committee is of particular interest to our industry,
and has 12 new Republican members in the 112th Congress,
half of whom are freshmen members of Congress."

The first step to set up a successful plant visit is to send an invitation as soon as possible. Visit the Congressional directory at http://capwiz.com/wdma to find district office information for your representative and/or senators. Send an invitation to their scheduler, offering multiple dates if possible. Members of Congress will be home the following dates: May 16-20, June 6-10, June 27-July 5, July 18-22, and August 8-September 6. (Note that the Senate is on a different schedule, but Senators also will be in their home states August 8-September 6.)

Once a date has been confirmed, contact WDMA for an update on key policy issues to raise during your tour. We can provide issue briefs for you to review and share, but the important thing is to share the story of your company and the challenges you’re facing. A conversation about energy efficiency tax credits is all the more powerful if you can show the products to your legislators. If possible, schedule the tour with enough time to allow your Congressperson to speak to employees and answer questions. Be sure to take pictures and work with the legislator’s office to send a press release to your local media. Congressional plant tours are great opportunities to generate positive press for both the legislator and your company.

Engaging legislators on the issues impacting door, window and skylight manufacturers is critical to ensuring Congress acts in a way that will help, not hinder, our housing recovery and economic growth.

Are These Your Congressional Representatives?
The WDMA can particularly use your assistance in making contact with the following freshman congressional representatives: Rep. Brian Bilbray (Calif.-50th), Rep. Charlie Bass (N.H.-2nd), Rep. Gregg Harper (Miss.-3rd), Rep. Leonard Lance (N.J.-7th), Rep. Bill Cassidy (La.-6th), Rep. Brett Guthrie (Ky.-2nd), Rep. Pete Olson (Texas-22nd), Rep. David McKinley (W.Va.-1st), Rep. Cory Gardner (Colo.-4th), Rep. Mike Pompeo (Kan.-4th), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.-11th) and Rep. Morgan Griffith (Va.-9th).

Likewise, the following new members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee need to hear from manufacturers in their states: Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). —MO
Michael O’Brien serves as president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. His opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.


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