There is much ballyhoo in Washington, D.C., these days about a possible infrastructure spending bill. With the huge partisan divide in D.C. these days, we have to wonder what if anything will happen. What we do know is that much of what is at stake is greatly influenced by lobbyists and Political Action Committees (PAC). From an infrastructure standpoint and much more, political advocacy is done through professional association PACs.
Joining us in this issue, representatives from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO), National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), and the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) discuss their role in D.C. politics and water infrastructure. You might be pleasantly surprised to realize the influence that they may have.
I have been involved with NUCA’s PAC and have always been impressed with the length that NUCA goes through to be neutral political-wise — namely bipartisan. They conduct an annual Washington, D.C. Summit that brings in NUCA members from across the United States. The event usually starts with a meeting to update everybody on the latest status of political matters concerning NUCA, followed by individual members calling on their specific state congressional representative or senator, and there’s an evening reception that includes invited representatives and senators.
AEM, NASSCO and NACWA similarly function like NUCA in getting their members involved. As I’ve seen, the best way to have influence is be in D.C. and meet your representative or senator. They always remember that.
Did you know that much of what is brought up in Congress comes from representative and senator staff members who draft documents that present the representative or senator specific positions on matters. These documents pass through staff lawyers; and in the end, are most always driven by lobbyists and PACs. Often, I’ve heard that the best way is to work through these staff members.
I have wondered over the years why the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) does not have a political advocacy role in Washington D.C. or Ottawa Canada. The obvious answer is that NASTT is comprised of U.S. and Canadian members, so any kind of political advocacy might be difficult to accomplish. But can NASTT figure this out? NASTT certainly has a stake in all of this and should be heard.
Bipartisanship, unity, etc. are common themes presented by this current Administration. I sure hope that they can all put aside their differences and make something happen regarding water infrastructure.
Here’s hoping for lots of water infrastructure money,
Bernard P. Krzys, Publisher