By the time you read this, we will be in the closing days of the 2016 campaign. As someone who has eagerly followed campaigns, elections and government for some time, I have to say that this campaign has at times sucked the life out of me.
Maybe it’s the fact that the campaign season now seems to stretch to nearly two years. Maybe it’s the fact that a 24-hour news cycle has a media more focused on the “next” story, no matter how trivial. Maybe it’s the fact that in the race for President, we have the two most unpopular candidates since they started keeping that statistic.
What I know is that when talking with HARDI members and other normal human beings (excluding those of us who work inside the beltway), there seems to be a fundamental belief that our institutions, public and private, are failing us. People by and large don’t trust government, corporate America or the media. It often seems as if people are engaged in online communities where people spend a lot of time talking and not a lot of time doing while filtering out news, people or points of view that may differ from their own.
What I’ve mentioned above doesn’t mean that I believe our government, industry or society are irreparable. I don’t, and you shouldn’t either. What I do know is that it is becoming increasingly challenging for individuals to break through the noise. That is why organizations such as HARDI have never been more important.
You may be thinking, well, of course, you’d say HARDI is important, you work for them. This is true (and I’m extremely grateful to be doing so). But let me pose a question to you. If we don’t join together as an industry to make sure that our perspective is represented in Washington, who will?
I don’t know how many kids are sitting in school today dreaming about working in HVACR distribution, but I do know that for those of us fortunate enough to be a small part of this industry, we understand how great of a community it is, and we have a responsibility to ensure that it is vibrant when future generations join our ranks.
Coming from the perspective of a person who represents this industry in Washington, the more united and engaged our association is, the more likely we will be to effect change. Simply put, you either matter or you don’t.
How can we matter? I’m not smart, but I’m smart enough to know that not everyone is a political junkie like me. But I believe one of the great things about HARDI is the many ways that you can contribute. Here are the top five ways you can advocate on behalf of your industry:
Make sure everyone in your company is registered to vote. This year, we rolled out the HARDI Votes campaign to encourage voter registration amongst our member companies. Don’t stop at voter registration. Consider allowing your employees a little extra time to vote on Election Day. (www.hardinet.org/hardivotes)
Talk to everyone in your company about the issues that matter to you. Studies show that employers are considered a top resource for information regarding the impact on elections. If you’re a LIFO company, explain to EVERYONE what it is and why a repeal would be harmful, don’t just stop at the accounting department.
Join HARDIPAC. HARDI has a political action committee to support the election of candidates who recognize the policies which are important to our industry.
Participate in the Unitary Report. I often hear from members that many proposals from the Department of Energy or other agencies are simply misguided and not reflective of what is going on in the market. The one thing that can sway the government is real data, and the unitary report helps us provide that perspective. This is a simple report to participate in, it’s free and has the added benefit of giving you specific market information.
Show up. We have a Congressional Fly-In once a year (May 23-24, 2017). It’s important. We need you there.
There are two taglines I think of regularly. The first is HARDI’s mission to make “HVACR Distributors the channel of choice for manufacturers and contractors.” The second is HARDIPAC’s statement that we are “United for independence and prosperity.” Advocacy plays a huge role in each of those statements, and this fall, no matter the result, there are going to be some people, groups, and industry who throw their hands up and say we have a system. and there’s nothing we can do about it. We cannot and we must not.
In Washington, you’re either at the table or you’re on the plate. What’s it going to be?
The HARDI Political Action Committee (HARDIPAC) has endorsed the following candidates for the 2016 election.
House of Representatives
▶ Rep. Martha Blackburn (TN-7)
▶ Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-2)
▶ Rep. Steve Chabot (OH-1)
▶ Rep. Chuck Fleischman (TN-3)
▶ Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS-2)
▶ Rep. John Katko (NY-24)
▶ Rep. Kristi Noem (SD-At Large)
▶ Rep. Martha Roby (AL-2)
▶ Rep. Kyrsten Synema (AZ-9)
▶ Rep. Pat Tiberi (OH-12)
▶ Sen. Richard Burr (NC)
▶ Dr. Joe Heck (NV)
▶ Sen. Ron Johnson (WI)
▶ Sen. Pat Toomey (PA)
▶ Sen. Marco Rubio (FL)
▶ Sen. Tim Scott (SC)
▶ Rep. Todd Young (IN)