Last month, Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (R- NY) visited City Electric Company during a trade show at the company’s newly renovated building in Syracuse, N.Y.
City Electric made it clear at this event, that government involvement is important to the company. When Congresswoman Buerkle, vendors and attendees entered the trade show, they first noticed a welcome booth—a space City Electric used to encourage voter registration.
“We used NAED’s ‘Get out the Vote’ posters and set up a table at the show that included information about our industry and free copies of the U.S. Constitution,” said Sandy Rosecrans, president and CEO of City Electric. “The NAED brochure detailing our industry’s legislative agenda was very helpful. Representative Buerkle was very interested and took copies of the detailed information.”
After being introduced to the City Electric management team, Buerkle took a tour of the company’s new facility. “We had an opportunity to talk in detail about City Electric, our industry, NAED’s Government Affairs initiative, as well as the recent Congressional Fly-In,” Rosecrans said.
Rosecrans explained to Buerkle, who represents Syracuse as part of New York’s 25th district, how important it was for City Electric to stay in the city.
“We could have moved out of Syracuse,” Rosecrans explained, “but we wanted to stay here. This was an opportunity to showcase our new building, and to make her aware of our financial decision to stay in the downtown location and invest in a renewal project that took a vacant eyesore of building and transformed it into a thriving business location.”
During her visit, Rosecrans also had an opportunity to talk to the congresswoman about issues that matter to City Electric and the industry as a whole.
“We thanked her for her support of the repeal of the Estate Tax (HR 1259) and asked for her support of the Energy Policy Act (HR1861), which extends the tax deduction for commercial buildings to invest in energy saving products,” Rosecrans said. “We also asked for her support of the REINS Act (HR10) which will address the over regulation that effects so many small businesses.” Rosecrans noted that Buerkle was already in agreement with many of the issues City Electric cares about.
The Affordable Care Act and the end of the Bush Tax cuts were also a part of Rosecrans’ conversation with Representative Buerkle.
“The uncertainty about the additional burden these issues could place on small business owners seems to keep everyone in a state of limbo,” Rosecrans said.
Aside from discussing the issues, Representative Buerkle stopped to meet with several manufacturers who were participating in the trade show event, showing an interest in all of the energy saving products on display.
Buerkle spent time talking to Dave Puccia of Cooper Lighting, a company headquartered in Syracuse, about a National Grid Energy Efficiency Trade Ally Program for which his company, as well as City Electric, perform as Energy Solutions Providers. ESPs work closely with National Grid in performing energy audits, facilitating incentives to the end-user and selling the resulting lighting projects.
At the end of the congresswoman’s visit, Rosecrans felt confident that she had made an ally in Washington, and she plans to keep in contact with Buerkle and her staff. She even scheduled a follow-up appointment with a member of Buerkle’s staff to discuss the size standards for small businesses and how it relates to the electrical industry.
“Building a relationship with your members of Congress is key to having your voice heard on Capitol Hill,” said Ed Orlet, NAED’s vice president of government affairs. “Inviting your U.S. Senator or Representative to your facility, like City Electric did, allows them to learn more about your business, the industry and issues that matter to you, their constituents.”
“Ed Orlet’s mantra has always been, ‘Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up…’” Rosecrans laughed. “And because of that encouragement, we feel City Electric now has a relationship with our government official and an opportunity to have a voice in what affects our future.”Tagged with tED