By Jim Moody, CAE
President of Construction Suppliers Association
I’ve come to realize over the years that government affairs is not something that many of you would consider a key benefit of CSA membership. At the state level, the Mississippi and Louisiana side of the family is more active than the Georgia and Alabama side, but I rarely hear any of you talk about the need for work at the federal level.
Perhaps it’s because there’s an assumption that the federal government is so broken that there’s nothing we can do to make it better. I think the one thing all Americans can agree on is that there is significant dysfunction in our federal government. We just can’t all agree on why that’s the case.
I was visiting a prospect in Louisiana a few weeks ago, and when I mentioned that government affairs is one of the things we offered, he told me that lobbying was the root of our nation’s demise. He said it had started with the spotted owl controversy in the 1980s, and we had been on a slippery slope downward ever since. It’s fair to say I failed to connect with him, and I’m not expecting his dues check anytime soon. Still, I think many people perceive “lobbying” as an evil that we’d be better off without.
That thinking flies until the government does something crazy to harm your business. Then the perspective changes. I start getting calls saying “we ought to do something about ….”
So, there are three things I want you to know right now:
1. The government is doing a couple of crazy things that could harm your business.
2. We have excellent government affairs representation in Washington working on your behalf.
3. Good lobbying can’t fix everything, but it might be able to make it more palatable.