Johnson: Opportunities ahead with the next Congress

By |  October 9, 2020
Photo: Michael Johnson


It’s difficult to fully express how tumultuous the past year has been: for our industry, our country and those around the world.

A global pandemic, economic distress, a jobs crisis and social upheaval were not on anyone’s list of predictions a year ago.

As a longtime government affairs staffer and now the CEO of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), I understand the impact these factors can have when planning for the future of our organization and our industry at large. Though the theme of 2020 has been uncertainty and unpredictability, one constant you can count on is the 2020 election will continue.

Another constant you can count on is NSSGA will continue to lead the industry in Washington with our strong policy outreach. We will push through the partisanship and advocate for our issues that we know will benefit not just our members, but, in effect, the economy as a whole.

Fall approached rapidly, and though we may have to get through it without the norms we’ve been accustomed to, there are still those key milestones marked on our calendar to give us some sense of normalcy.

At NSSGA, our mission is to advance public policies that protect and expand the safe, environmentally responsible use of aggregates that build America’s infrastructure and economy. We successfully accomplish this through our active representation here in Washington, our successful work with ROCKPAC and our efforts to Get Out the Vote.

Just recently, we brought our members to Washington virtually with our Legislative & Policy Forum. Additionally, we participated in Every Vote Counts. NSSGA members received advocacy training and met with hundreds of congressional members and their staffs to discuss issues like funding relief for state Departments of Transportations; creating certainty for the industry through a multi-year highway bill; and supporting infrastructure investment as a key driver to economic recovery.

These advocacy efforts were essential to educate Congress firsthand before the clock strikes midnight Sept. 30, when must-pass transportation infrastructure legislation would expire.

Looking ahead

Every election creates changes. Nov. 3 will not be any different.

With a presidential race, 35 Senate races and 435 House seats up for reelection, there is the potential for changes in leadership and policy that could impact our industry.

There is a matrix of possibilities that could result from the elections. Still, on Jan. 3, 2021, we do know that the 117th Congress will come to town. With this class, there will be many new faces along with their new staffs walking the marble halls.

This provides a new opportunity for us to introduce ourselves and educate new congressional members on our key issues. In fact, we have already begun this process, hosting multiple meet-and-greet virtual events with candidates running in districts where we have a large presence.

At NSSGA, we know how this process works and know it is up to us to stay engaged. Our members have a unique story to tell, and we will continue to ensure your voice is heard in Washington.

No matter the outcome of the elections, roads will still be traveled on; goods will still be shipped; and projects will continue to be needed. Investment in infrastructure provides jobs, improves communities and pays dividends beyond the project itself that can and will drive our economy forward. Infrastructure development is a bipartisan issue, and building relationships is a good and worthwhile business practice.

NSSGA is here to serve our members’ needs, and we will continue to lead on issues important to our industry. We will also work with Congress on both sides of the aisle to advance sound and effective infrastructure policies. It is critical to remember that we are in this together, and success as an industry will benefit us all.

Michael W. Johnson is president and CEO of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association. 

Featured image: P&Q Staff

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