While most of the mainstream media is concentrating on whether or not Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016, there is an election cycle this year that is reasonably important. Every HVAC contractor signing paychecks should know who is running for national, state, and local office and what views those candidates hold.

If business owners are not voting for folks who align with their self interests, the bosses are just wasting their votes.

I am one of the few people you will meet who will not try to change your views on a subject or candidate. That is not my job, and, in such a polarized society, I don’t believe it is even possible to do that anymore. I will just be raising some issues that contractors should be thinking about when they go to the polls.

Some of the issues the next Congress might be deciding:

• Minimum wage. This is a fight that has been brewing for awhile now. Some politicians feel a hike is needed so workers can earn enough to rise out of poverty, while others think it is a job killer and will raise the cost of everyday items. Have you considered how a raise in the minimum wage will affect your business, the people you do business with, and the labor pool?

• Health Care. We all know that one side believes heavily in Obamacare while the other side believes it will ruin our economy. I am not sure what you believe, but be sure whoever you are voting for shares your views.

• Energy Efficiency. The Shaheen-Portman energy-efficiency bill has been derailed by congress more times than my diet has been derailed by the Dairy Queen Cookie Jar Blizzard. Much of the HVAC community would like to see this bill passed. If you are unfamiliar, Google it and decide whether you want to vote for candidates who support it.

Local Politics

And don’t forget about local politics. While the national scene can be important and steals most of the headlines, a lot of the laws that directly affect an HVAC business are passed at the local level. Mayors, township boards, and city councils can greatly influence how your business operates and what red tape it needs to cut through.

What these local politicians can influence is how easy it is to do business in their cities. Are regulatory and licensing hoops that you must jump through so burdensome that it is affecting your bottom line? They can do something about that.

Do they enforce laws they have on the books or do they not invest the resources needed? If they don’t, and you are one of the good guys playing by the rules, you are fighting with one hand tied behind your back.

Heaven forbid, can they provide you market research information about local constituents that might help you decide how to market your business to the area’s residents? This can be invaluable information that can be a great help to your business.

So keep up with the national scene and pool your time/resources together with the aid of associations like ACCA and Heating, Air-conditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). But, don’t forget about the local guys. Read the candidates’ literature, ask questions when they come campaigning at your door, or just schedule a time to go in and meet them for yourself.

Contractors need to be paying attention to all elections.

So, while most of the public is worried about whether Clinton is out of touch or if Rand Paul is too Libertarian, contractors need to research and cast their votes for the folks who will make running a business just a little easier.

Publication date: 7/14/2014

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