Once again, HARDI is preparing to take on Capitol Hill at this year’s Congressional Fly-In. Taking place May 20-21 in Washington, D.C., HARDI is looking forward to making the voices of our members heard and impacting legislation in a way that could have a huge impact on the HVAC industry.
The current political landscape could not provide a better backdrop for these significant conversations to take place. 2014 is shaping up to be the perfect time for members to participate in the Congressional Fly-In, as it has quickly become a year packed with important issues and major changes being made that could potentially transform how our members conduct business in the future. These issues include proposals to repeal LIFO from the House, Senate and President Obama, President Obama's proposal to reduce the estate tax exemption and raise the rate, ongoing challenges with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, failure of the Congress to address online sales tax avoidance, continued challenges to ESOPs, and proposed changes to overtime compensation rules and ongoing actions from the NLRB. According to Karen Madonia, HARDI Government Affairs Co-Chair and Chief Financial Officer at ILLCO, Inc., the Congressional Fly-In not only affords members the chance to better understand the issues in government that directly affect them, but allows them the unique opportunity to educate members of Congress that may otherwise be blind to these serious concerns.
“We all get frustrated when we see our legislators acting without fully understanding the consequences,” says Madonia. “That’s why the HARDI Congressional Fly-in is so important. It gives us all an opportunity to educate members of Congress on issues that we are infinitely more qualified to address. Very few of them know what it takes to run a business - it’s incumbent on all of us to make sure that they understand that what they do in DC can and does have a profound effect on our ability to grow our businesses.”
In keeping with the idea that knowledge is power, HARDI makes sure that participants of the Congressional Fly-In are equipped with all of the information they will need to have successful meetings with Washington representatives. Prior to the Fly-In, members are given a detailed issue briefing as well as an orientation that explains exactly what they can expect in the meeting. These sessions go a long way in ensuring that HARDI members make a lasting impression on Congress.
Karen Madonia couldn’t agree more. “HARDI does a great job of making sure that Fly-in participants are well prepared for our meetings on the Hill. We have Stephanie Vance, from Advocacy Associates, come in to walk us through the logistics and proper protocols for meetings with our Representatives and Senators. Washington DC can be very intimidating, but Stephanie does a great job of easing participants’ apprehensions with education and humor. Then Jon Melchi thoroughly briefs everyone on the issues that HARDI has identified as ones that we, as an Association, are particularly interested in that year. We’re usually still a little nervous, but all of that prep time really does help us hit the Hill running!”
A featured speaker at this year’s Congressional Fly-In is Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and candidate for the U.S. Senate, will be among the speakers addressing attendees of the Congressional Fly-In. Rep. Gardner represents Colorado’s 4th District and has been active in both energy policy and promoting issues of importance to small business. Gardner is also a founder of the Bipartisan Energy Savings Performance Caucus and a co-sponsor of HARDI legislative priorities, including repeal of the Estate Tax and the REINS Act, which is regulatory accountability legislation which passed the House in 2013. “Congressman Gardner has been a champion of small business not only in Colorado, but across our country, and we are thrilled that he will be addressing our attendees,” said HARDI director of government affairs Jon Melchi
The success of the 2013 Congressional Fly-In speaks to the influence that being prepared and holding meaningful discussions with legislation can have on the industry. After last year’s event, President Obama delayed the Employer Mandate of the Affordable Care Act, citing pressure from Capitol Hill. In addition, after advocating for repeal of the Estate Tax, HARDI was selected to participate in a press conference announcing legislation to end the Death Tax. These are just two examples of how taking an active role in crucial political issues can truly make a difference.
Now is the time to step up and be a force for change. HARDI looks forward to meeting with members this year and empowering them to bring key issues in HVAC to the forefront of Congress. Be proactive, take a stand, and make your companies presence known on Capitol Hill!