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By Gary Thill
With the 2020 presidential election apparently decided, and divided government again the result, industry leaders expressed cautious optimism for what a President Joe Biden might mean for the industry. They also urged roofers to set aside partisan concerns and focus on business fundamentals.
“While we as a country are literally divided in half politically, we as contractors and leaders need to look for ways to connect, to find our common ground,” said Sherri Miles, NRCA vice chairman and vice president of J.D. Miles & Sons Inc. “We need to dig deep and stay true to our values, reinforce patience and double down on our common purpose as we find a common goal to work towards.”
NRCA CEO Reed Ribble said he’s optimistic that a Biden administration will lead to a long-awaited infrastructure stimulus that includes vertical building as well as much-needed immigration reform. Additionally, Biden’s plan for renewable energy and green jobs bodes well for roofing. “Biden will be more amenable to pragmatic immigration reform,” Ribble said. “A Biden administration with a Republican Congress could be good for us.”
Other roofing leaders echoed those sentiments. “It’s going to be a big opportunity for roofing to embrace solar and start to view the roof as a way to harness water and generate electricity. For us to evolve, we have to move away from the idea of the roof as a just a commodity,” said Trent Cotney, NRCA general counsel and CEO of Cotney Construction Law.
But even as optimism prevailed, fears about excessive regulation from a Democratic administration remained from Ribble and other leaders. “We are ready to work with the incoming administration and Congress to ensure they understand that imposing needless new regulatory burdens undermining the integrity of the current collective bargaining process … will severely undermine efforts to revive our economy…,” Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC CEO said in a statement.
AGC and NRCA leaders both said it will be more important than ever for roofers to make their voices heard in Washington at events such as Roofing Day. “More than ever, we have to show up in DC, get to know these people, build relationships and bring forth our ideas,” Ribble said.
Ultimately, though, Ribble and others noted that what will be most important in the short term is getting the Coronavirus under control. “It doesn’t matter who wins the White House,” Ribble said. “What’s going to drive this is science and the power of the vaccine.”
With that reality in mind, Cotney and others urged roofers to stay focused on business, rather than the drama of politics. “Whatever happens, it’s not the end of the world. What you have to do is figure out what the game is, and then play that game,” he said.