Raising the voice of the industry
Lobbying is all in the family for South Dakota's Tri-State Building Center.
Brett Hanson, owner of Tri-State Building Center in eastern South Dakota, says he benefits from high quality legislative represention on both a federal and state level. And he’s particularly proud of the way South Dakota Congressman Dusty Johnson has contributed to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada-Agreement proposal, currently gaining momentum in the halls of power.
But Hanson is not about to slow down his crusade to promote education and legislation to benefit small businesses like his own. In an interview with HBSDealer, Hanson quickly shared his passion for participating in the legislative process.
“I really enjoy seeing our representatives in Washington,” he said. “They seem to always listen and take time to meet with us. And while that’s something I take great pride in, the greatest part is watching my son and daughter experience and learn about this amazing process – and watching them learn first-hand how our country is run.
“This country’s political situation takes a lot of heat, with its non-stop infighting,” he added. “But there’s so much more to it. When I can bring my children [Colter, 15; Andra, 13] to the Capitol and all the places that played an integral role in the development of our country, when I can teach them about the process and get them interested, that’s what this country is all about.”
One memory in particular stands out: the sight of Iowa Congressman Dave Young pulling Hanson’s son, Colter, onto the stage at the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association’s 2018 Legislative Conference and introducing him with the words: “Here is the future.”
As a board member of the NLBMDA and representative of the Northwest Lumber Association, Hanson is an ambassador of the NLBMDA Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., set for March 23-25. It’s never been more important to participate in the legislative process, he said. Consolidation continues to put smaller businesses at disadvantages when it comes to their ability to monitor and comply with regulations, he said.
“I wish I could go door to door, to every lumberyard and small business, to stress the importance of these associations,” he said. “The voice we have as a group is the most important thing.”
Hanson credits the NLBMDA and other industry associations for their work to promote the USMCA, which is expected to benefit the housing industry. He believes more victories can come through collaboration and education.
“Education is so important,” said Hanson. “I believe that I cannot go into a presentation with just one side of an opinion. I need both sides. It’s so important to know what’s happening.
“I don’t want to run for congress,” he said. “But I do want to encourage everyone to participate in the process.”
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