I’m glad the Congressional calendar allows me time in the month of August to travel around the 2nd District and visit with constituents. Listening to the cares and concerns of those I represent is a critical part of my job because it allows me to be a better voice for you in Washington.
With all that is going on in the world, there is no shortage of issues to discuss. One important issue I don’t want Americans to lose sight of is the economic challenges that we still face. I’ve talked a lot about the “squeeze” that hits hardworking taxpayers when incomes remain stagnant while the costs of goods and services rise.
That’s why I’ve spent time over the last week meeting with those who are sometimes affected the most by economic uncertainty: those who operate or work at small businesses, including the construction industry. I’ve visited with the Alabama Associated General Contractors in Dothan and Montgomery, met the Greater Montgomery Area Homebuilders in Millbrook, and held roundtable discussions wth gatherings of small business operators in Headland and Prattville organized by the National Federation for Independent Businesses.
These groups each have unique issues. However, at every meeting and in each conversation, one common theme emerges: the burden unecessary federal regulations place on their ability to operate, grow and create jobs.
Many times homebuilders are the “canaries in the coal mine” for economic conditions. General contractors and their employees face a great deal of uncertainty due to Washington’s inability to enact a comprehensive infrastructure plan. Small business owners bear the brunt of the “regulatory state,” with red tape from Washington tying them up at every turn.
I can’t tell you how valuable it is for me to listen directly to those who sign the front of the paycheck about how they are affected by federal policies. It allows me to bring real stories back to Washington and push for common sense solutions.
What are those solutions? For one, Congress has to aggressively push back on the “regulatory state” by exposing unnecessary regulations and limiting the Obama Administration’s ability to implement them. Also, it’s time to pass a comprehensive infrastructure plan that provides certainty for how our roads and bridges are going to be funded over the long term. And, we need to restore welfare-to-work policies that encourage citizens to join the workforce and then connect them with quality job training programs when they get there.
Homegrown Alabama businesses are the backbone of our economy. Sometimes it is an uphill battle, but I’m proud to advocate on behalf of those who operate or are employed at small businesses in Congress.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. She is currently serving her third term.