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Our Voices Are Powerful Tools

Every year, I eagerly anticipate the CEA National Issues Conference, and this year was no exception.

Carol Duncan

Every year, I eagerly anticipate the CEA National Issues Conference, and this year was no exception.

This year's lineup of speakers was impressive. We heard from Jessica Looman, Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division; Kathryn Thomson, the FAA Deputy Administrator; House Majority Whip Congressman Tom Emmer from Minnesota; Sean McGarvey, President of NABTU; and Representatives Pete Stauber from Minnesota, Don Bacon from Nebraska, and Donald Norcross from New Jersey. The highlight for me was Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su. Her passion for her work was evident on stage and contagious in personal conversations.

Such a stellar lineup reflects the impressive influence we have on the Hill, thanks to our legislative team led by Stan Kolbe, who was recognized as one of the Hill’s Top Lobbyists in 2022 and 2023.

SMACNA has built personal relationships with each of the speakers who attended the CEA conference. These connections are the result of years of collaboration and dedication to our issues. 

This success would not be possible without the support of our SMACNA members. SMACNA’s Political Action Committee accepts personal contributions from members and directs those funds to candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. We support legislators who give our industry the attention it deserves.

To our PAC supporters, thank you. Your contributions have achieved so much; we need to continue building on our successes.
In today’s turbulent political climate, it's easy to complain about issues. But our representatives in Washington, D.C., cannot know everything about every issue and its impact on our businesses and lives unless we go to the Hill, write letters and get involved.

Every speaker addressed the infrastructure bill, registered apprenticeship programs, and the need to recruit from underserved communities. Julie Su, Acting Secretary of Labor, emphasized this point, stating, "Data shows that advancing equity leads to economic growth for everyone. When underserved individuals and communities are given the resources and opportunities they need to thrive, it boosts productivity, innovation and overall well-being, which reduces income inequality and poverty rates. The DOL is committed to promoting the economic and social well-being of all workers."

When we presented the work we are doing through BE4ALL and Best Practices, they were impressed and eager to use our industry as an example of doing the right thing. It is great to be ahead of the curve, setting the standard for industry recruiting and retention. 

Carol Duncan, SMACNA President