8 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | MAR. 15 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
PRESIDENT’S DESK BY DAVID A. HARDT
SINCE 1978, many politicians have won seats in Congress
with a little help from NECA. That was when our association
launched our political action committee (PAC) to support
policy-makers who care about such things as a strong economy
that grows jobs, about ensuring rules and regulations don’t go
overboard, and about giving everyone a fair chance to succeed.
The committee continues to do a remarkable job. Now it
has an even better name. Renaming the former Electrical Construction Political Action Committee (ECPAC) involved more
than picking a moniker that identifies the source of the political
largesse. We also wanted it to be something well-known and
respected. The committee should be associated with the highest ethical standards and with consistently making the right
choices. The term itself should convey a sense of strength and
Naturally, we called it NECAPAC.
You see, NECA already has a good name on Capitol Hill.
We have earned it through hard work—applied persistently and
at every opportunity—and through our track record of results.
As I write this column, NECA is getting ready for the biggest annual event on our government affairs calendar. Running
May 13–14, the 2015 NECA Legislative Conference will bring
150 member-contractors to Washington, D.C., to convey the
concerns of thousands of their counterparts to our nation’s
lawmakers. Conference participants know that, though any one
of them can make a critical difference, unified action increases
the odds of success.
Our legislative goals may not all be accomplished through a
single conference, but this is a special opportunity to advocate
for our priority issues in the ongoing quest for good government
and equitable laws promoting a healthful business climate. A
strong, continuous grassroots effort that touches the legislators
in their home districts, as well as on Capitol Hill, is also important. NECA chapters build relationships with their national
representatives and with their state legislators. Our politically
astute members ensure lawmakers know where electrical contractors stand on the issues and what the legislators must do
to maintain the support of their constituents in the electrical
contracting industry. Being active in Washington, D.C., and all
50 states enables NECA to speak with a loud, influential voice.
We have a lot to talk about with Congress this year. Some
of it is in response to President Barack Obama’s disappointing
2015 State of the Union Address, in which he identified pas-
sage of a long-term infrastructure bill as a priority but failed
to elaborate on any specifics. Also disappointing is his outright
opposition of the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline as well as
his support of tax reform that misses the mark. Despite those
challenges, there are some key legislative issues that we have
been addressing on behalf of our contractors. Listed in the
broadest terms, they include the following:
• Investing in our nation’s economic future: A robust
investment in our nation’s infrastructure is essential to
ensuring electrical contractors stay in business, their
employees keep working, and the economy remains strong.
This includes our transportation, energy, clean water and
• Investing in our workforce: Electrical contractors know
their employees are crucial to their success, which is why
NECA contractors invest in the nation’s most comprehensive training and apprenticeship programs, compensate our
skilled workforce accordingly, and provide quality healthcare and retirement benefits. The result is the most-skilled
and most-productive electricians in the nation.
• Enacting comprehensive tax reform: Comprehensive tax
reform that includes significant changes to the individual
and corporate tax rates must be tackled as soon as possible to propel economic growth and make America more
• Reforming procurement policy to improve delivery of
construction services: Electrical contractors believe the
federal government should afford any qualified contractor
the opportunity to serve the government through free and
I encourage all NECA contractors to participate in this
year’s legislative conference. I urge ECs everywhere to keep
up with legislative issues important to our industry—whether
national, regional or local—and to reach out to the lawmakers.
Let them know what you need and what you want them to do
about it. Hold them accountable.
Furthermore, I encourage you to take up this task and pursue it diligently, as if your livelihood depends on it. When you
consider the importance of the legislation and regulations that
govern your work, it really does.
David A. Hardt, PRESIDENT, NECA
Because It Truly Matters