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From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short

From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - March 31, 2023

With every seat in the DCA boardroom filled, we held our 4th Annual Young Executive Committee Legislator Breakfast this week. We again had the special opportunity to sit and eat with members of the House and Senate connecting on both professional and personal levels.

As at the previous breakfasts, the conversation was meaningful but informal and easy. After going around the room giving the YEC members an opportunity to introduce themselves and share the type of work their company does, the legislators touched briefly on the focus of their work. Through the course of the conversation, the legislators also gave a peek behind the curtain of how the legislature works and the ongoing process of creating and amending Delaware’s laws.

Each year there seems to be a hot topic. With recreational cannabis legislation passing the House earlier this month and the Senate yesterday, this was our hot topic of 2023. Our members shared aspects of the safety and liability concerns employers have and asked that legislators work with DCA as the issues moves forward. I shared with the members DCA’s close work with the legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Osienski, to amend the legislation leaving control of drug policy to the employer. There was some discussion of whether the amendment’s language needed to be further tightened. As part of that conversation, we discussed the process and importance of further amending substantial law changes to address oversights and unintended consequences. Should the legislation become law, which I think is likely, the details of its implementation will occur during the regulatory process with likely implementation eighteen months out from the date it becomes law. In all likelihood there will be “clean-up” legislation addressing issues that will be revealed as the law is implemented.

Elected officials wear a lot of hats. Many of the General Assembly’s members have jobs outside of their elected offices, and of course have families. They are pulled in a lot of directions, so it is particularly appreciated when they make a 7:30 am breakfast. Several legislators texted me while we were meeting apologizing for last minute family and/or work issues preventing them from making this year’s meeting. The below legislators were able to join us in person and should be recognized for their interest in our membership and their commitment to the role it plays in Delaware’s construction economy:

Senator Brian Townsend

Representative Madinah Anton-Wilson

Representative Larry Lambert

Representative Sean Matthews

Representative Jeff Spiegelman

YEC Co-Chairs, Brandon Baker, Tri-Supply & Equipment, and Matt Benedict, Greggo and Ferrara, led the meeting in a way that allowed the YEC members the opportunity to share their unique concerns and perspectives based on the diverse aspects of the construction industry they represent. With expertise ranging from the supply chain to human resources to bidding, they showed the value they can provide to our elected officials as public policy decisions impacting the construction industry are being made. To this point, I shared how just this week, Senator Townsend shared draft legislation with me seeking DCA’s input. Following last year’s breakfast, Representative Anton-Wilson reached out to YEC member Alex Cessna, Battaglia Associates, to get input on an issue. As the Voice of Construction, this is what we want. As elected officials explore changes to public policy impacting the construction industry, asking for input at the start of the effort is critically important.

When we first explored the idea of connecting these leaders in our industry with public policy leaders, it was with an eye to the future. Senator Townsend and Representative Minor-Brown have moved into Senate and House leadership positions since we began our breakfasts just as our YEC members continue to move into leadership positions within their companies and DCA. Representative Minor-Brown is not listed above because she was one of the folks who texted with a last-minute conflict, but she has been a regular attendee during the previous three years. Now at our fourth year of this event, I believe, more than ever, that these relationships will help to shape better public policy around an industry that contributes significantly to Delaware’s economy.

It was another great meeting, and all participants should be recognized for their commitment to Delaware and the construction industry. I also want to thank our member companies who have their future leaders serving on the YEC. Work like this is some of the most important aspects of what our organization does. I’m looking forward to our next meeting!

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