ASA Government Affairs: D.C. Life
Andrew Johnson once said, “Washington, D.C. is twelve square miles boarded by reality.” There was much debate among the founding fathers as to whether an existing city should be chosen as the capitol of the new country or create a whole new “district.” The founding fathers got this correct, considering there is no other place like this in the world.
D.C. takes its place among the greatest cities around the globe. It is filled with rich history, monuments and museums. The District of Columbia is often at the top of the list as one of the most diverse cities in America. It has a people here representing every state and district in America, as well as around the world.
It also has been referred to as the most powerful city in the world. The President of the United States, senators from every state, congressmen from every district, and heads of the most important federal agencies reside here most months out of the year, as do international representatives. It is not uncommon to see these leaders around town, in an elevator, a restaurant or at events. As a newcomer to this amazing city, you quickly begin to know who is who.
The power here still gives me chills. Every time I step onto the Hill or the steps of the Unites States Capitol building, I am filled with a very exciting, yet humbling sense of pride. I am quickly reminded this is my city, as well as every other citizen’s of the United States. No matter where we are from in the U.S., this is our city!
There is no such thing as a 40-hour work week in D.C. This city never sleeps. This is the only place where any business or association can go meeting to meeting with top leadership day after day. In September alone, the ASA Advocacy team attended a reception for Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), lunch with Congressman Cramer (R-N.D.), lunch with Congresswoman Mimi Walters, (R-Calif.), a reception for Pete Stauber who is running for Congress in Minnesota, dinner with Congressman Bradly Byrne (R-Ala.), breakfast with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a reception with Karin Housley who is running for Senate in Minnesota, dinner with Congressman Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and finally, lunch with Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-Ariz.). This does not even account for all the other congressmen and senators the ASA Advocacy team runs into at these events, including the likes of House Majority Leader Mitch McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with congressmen Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Ron Estes (R-Kan.). At all these events the ASA Advocacy team was able to promote the image and name of ASA on the Hill, talk about ASA’s members and who they are, and work on ideas or future meetings to help any legislative or regulatory issues our members are facing.
At this point, September is not even over yet and much more is on the agenda for the rest of the month. The ASA Advocacy team has also met with Assistant Secretary Stump at the Department of Education to talk about workforce development and getting the trade and vocational classes back in high schools. Also, we met with WaterSense to promote and engage in any efforts to bring ASA’s relationship with the WaterSense program to the next level. This month, ASA also had meetings with S-CORP Association to talk about tax reform and how The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects our members, the small Business Administration Labor and Safety OSHA Roundtable to discuss issues pertaining to safety, the High Performance Building Coalition to discuss infrastructure, highlights for the FY 2019 Appropriation Bill, and other policy updates.
D.C., as controversial as it can be, is the only place in America where all of these could take place in “twelve square miles.” At every discussion or conversation, politics comes up, it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s built into the culture. However, as soon as you step outside the “twelve square miles,” the hustle and bustle seems to dim and the chatter gets a little quieter. It really is a whole world of its own.
This article was originally titled “D.C. Life” in the November 2018 print edition of Supply House Times.