Washington Summit Recap: NUCA Members Hit the Hill

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Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) meets with Scott Eyman, Eric Klein, and Matt Bevington
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) meets with Scott Eyman, Eric Klein, and Matt Bevington during the Nebraska Breakfast.

At a time when infrastructure is in the forefront of many minds on Capitol Hill, NUCA’s annual Washington Summit provided an excellent opportunity to remind lawmakers of the importance of maintaining and improving our nation’s underground utilities. More than 100 NUCA members hit the Hill on May 23 to impress upon Congress the growing need to invest in these assets and find new and creative ways to meet the challenges that we see every day.

During our visits, we advocated for increased and innovative funding mechanisms for water infrastructure, a solution to reliably fund the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) in the coming years, and legislation to address worker training to ensure that the American workforce is prepared build the next generation of infrastructure.

Rebecca Ridson and Kurt Youngs from NUCA of Indiana meet with Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)
Rebecca Ridson and Kurt Youngs from NUCA of Indiana meet with Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) (center) between votes at the Capitol.

While most Members of Congress were generally receptive to and supportive of our priorities, the challenge continues to be the lack of decisive action on these issues. Nearly everyone agrees that we need to prevent the HTF from going broke and jeopardizing infrastructure projects—but Congress can’t agree on a way to pay for it. Nearly everyone recognizes that much of our drinking and wastewater infrastructure are failing – but with many competing interests, these needs haven’t received the attention they deserve. We therefore need to continue to communicate with Congress, highlight the importance of these challenges, and build on the commitments and assurances provided during our meetings by holding Congress accountable when there is an opportunity to move on these issues.

In addition to our Hill visits, members heard from lawmakers and other experts in the infrastructure and political arena during our Legislative Conference, the day prior to our Hill visits. Representative John Katko’s (R-N.Y) remarks offered an excellent breakdown of his efforts to advance legislation supporting funding for water infrastructure, including his own bill, the SRF WIN Act, as well as his thoughts on how Congress might be able to break through partisan gridlock to advance bipartisan goals. Members also had the chance to hear from Dean Franks, representing the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, who gave an informational presentation on President Trump’s infrastructure blueprint.

Jennifer E. Duffy, Senior Editor with The Cook Political Report
Jennifer E. Duffy, Senior Editor with The Cook Political Report, provided NUCA members her assessment of the upcoming elections.

Looking forward, NUCA has an excellent opportunity to build on the relationships and contacts from our visits, and there are ways that you can maximize these efforts. First, by signing up to receive NUCA’s Political Insiders e-news, you will receive the most recent updates on activity in Congress, the administration, and regulatory agencies. This information will tie ongoing developments back to the issues and priorities discussed during our visits. Second, you can join NUCA’s Government Relations committee to offer your insight and expertise to shape our legislative efforts. This will help to ensure that NUCA is as responsive as possible to your needs and the needs of your day-to-day operations. Finally, please plan to attend NUCA’s 2019 Washington Summit! This event offers the opportunity to meet the lawmakers who represent you and work for you in Washington. These meetings and networking opportunities can start or continue relationship that will help ensure that your interests are represented in Congress.

First time attendees to the Washington Summit.
First time attendees to the Washington Summit.
NUCA Florida chapters
Members from NUCA’s Florida chapters gather during a break from their meetings.
NUCA of Nebraska members with Sen. Deb Fischer. Back (l-r): Scott Eyman, Eric Klein, Matt Bevington. Front: Janet Seelhoff, Fischer, Kara Habrock, Bryce Mongeon.
NUCA of Nebraska members with Sen. Deb Fischer. Back (l-r): Scott Eyman, Eric Klein, Matt Bevington. Front: Janet Seelhoff, Fischer, Kara Habrock, Bryce Mongeon.
Bill Mahorney with NUCA CEO Bill Hillman and NUCA Vice Chairman Fred Chesney.
Bill Mahorney (left), from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, chats with NUCA CEO Bill Hillman and NUCA Vice Chairman Fred Chesney.
Scott Ritchie, Jason Clark, and Andy Fox present Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Scott Ritchie, Jason Clark, and Andy Fox present Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) (center-right) with NUCA’s legislative priorities.
NUCA's Bryce Mongeon (left) and Bill Hillman spoke with Rep. Karen Handel (R-GA)
NUCA’s Bryce Mongeon (left) and Bill Hillman spoke with Rep. Karen Handel (R-GA) during NUCA’s congressional reception.
Penny Danielecki, Tom Butler, and Theresa Mannix (left to right) meet with Rep. Gus Bilirakis
Penny Danielecki, Tom Butler, and Theresa Mannix (left to right) meet with Rep. Gus Bilirakis (right) to highlight water infrastructure needs.
NUCA Director of Government Relations Bryce Mongeon (right) met with Rep. Dan Lapinski
NUCA Director of Government Relations Bryce Mongeon (right) met with Rep. Dan Lapinski, a longtime supporter of NUCA’s efforts.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) (left) meets with Karen DeWitt of NUCA of Central Florida and Fred Chesney
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) (left) meets with Karen DeWitt of NUCA of Central Florida and Fred Chesney from NUCA of South Florida.
Brian Wilkerson, Linda Goslee and Keith Vandegrift caught up with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
Brian Wilkerson, Linda Goslee and Keith Vandegrift caught up with Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) (center-right) during NUCA’s congressional reception.
Rep. John Katko (R-NY) speaks with NUCA CEO Bill Hillman and NUCA Chairman Mark Fuglevand
Rep. John Katko (R-NY) speaks with NUCA CEO Bill Hillman and NUCA Chairman Mark Fuglevand before he addressed NUCA’s members.

To sign up for our Political Insiders e-news, please email Bryce@NUCA.com.

Bryce Mongeon is NUCA’s Director of Government Relations.

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