Arnold Morgan's customers who have a high interest in Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) will soon march upon Capitol Hill to share its legislative concerns with America's elected officials through the fifth-annual HARDI Congressional Fly-In, June 4-5 in Washington, D.C.
The event provides HARDI members a platform to communicate their thoughts and concerns in a meaningful and impactful way.
"This gives our members a chance to develop relationships with elected officials and their staff," said Jon Melchi, director of government affairs (HARDI). "Over the years, this event has leant us a very influential voice. It shows that we can proactively impact the outcome of issues in Washington."
HARDI'S AGENDAThis year, HARDI will bring a multitude of issues to discuss with the 112th Congress.
"The current estate tax rate will be reverting to prior levels, which is very detrimental to small businesses and family businesses," said Melchi. "Also, the personal income tax levels are set to expire, impacting our members and their employees and customers."
Late in 2011, Congress passed H.R. 2587, the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act, which forbids the National Labor Relations Board from telling a company where it can open and run facilities. The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which shortens the time between an employee's request to unionize and the date the actual election occurs, was also passed. Both issues have pitted the business community against organized labor.
"The federal government has been very aggressive on several issues regarding labor and a number of our members aren't pleased with the direction they've taken. We'll be communicating that stance as well," said Melchi.
"The REINS Act would require an up or down vote for any proposal that would provide a large impact on the economy," added Melchi. "This was a hot topic last year, and I'm sure it will be highly discussed again this year."
He also hinted that HARDI has some pressing concerns with a few pending regulatory issues. He believes the fly-in could provide a positive forum for members to air their grievances.
Last year's event facilitated 63 distributor and manufacturer member-companies the chance to partake in approximately 170 private meetings with Congressional representatives and key staffers. Melchi said speakers for this year's event haven't been confirmed. Last year's event featured speeches from Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C. and Rand Paul, R-Ky.
"Less than 24 hours after we opened registration, we had more than 20 members sign up," he said. "We anticipate more participants than last year and are excited about sharing this opportunity with not just our distributor members, but suppliers, energy-efficiency officials, manufacturer's representatives, and the rest of HARDI members. It is a great chance to network and learn more about best practices currently being implemented by others."
WHO'S IN?Jim Luce, CEO and owner of Luce, Schwab & Kase, Fairfield, N.J., said he will be attending to discuss "Last In, First Out" (LIFO) legislation, the "Death Tax," and will be vehemently rallying against H.R. 2854, the Employer Free Choice Act, also recognized as "Card Check" legislation.
"The experience of actually meeting with your Congressman and his staff is invaluable. Not only do you have the opportunity to let your Congressman know how an issue may impact you and your business, but you have the opportunity to make yourself a resource to your Congressman when it comes to HVAC issues," said Luce. "I was able to share with several Congressmen the negative consequences the elimination of LIFO would have on my business. Over the last three years I've built up a nice working relationship with several of the Congressional staff representing New Jersey. I've established myself as knowledgeable on the LIFO tax issue and now serve as a resource for my local Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, and his staff."
Dan Hinchman, president, Aireco Supply, Laurel, Md., said he is most interested in discussing the resumption of energy credits and finding a way to reduce the federal debt.
"This event allows us to become more familiar with the legislative process and how we can impact potential legislation," he said. "It opens a dialogue in the future and makes sure that our perspectives are heard and not drowned out by larger, more organized interest groups."
Richard Cook, president and COO, Johnson Supply, Houston, will bring a long list of issues he hopes to discuss, including LIFO, the estate tax, deficit spending, regional energy standards, and more.
"If you believe that we live in a democracy, it is our responsibility to participate in the decision making process," he said. "This event offers one of the best, well organized, face-to-face meetings with our representatives we'll ever get."
For more information or to register, contact Eileen Mantel at (888) 253-2128, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.hardinet.org.