Meeting with Jackie Walorski

Representative Jackie Walorski

On Tuesday April 30 I was invited to a meeting with Jackie Walorski at the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.  There was some interesting discussion (more than what was printed in the paper) but I was disappointed in the participation.  I know that invitations were sent to the other Community Chambers and there were no other representatives there.  Of those in attendance only three of us brought up issues for the congresswoman’s consideration, despite her obvious willingness to answer questions and work on issues.  This was a follow up on a meeting she held at the Plymouth Chamber in January which I attended, and I have to say I was impressed that not only did she remember me, but she came back with answers to some of the questions I posed then.

There were only about four of us that put questions in front of the congresswoman and because of lulls where no one else asked anything, I actually put three in front of her.  She was receptive and honest, when she didn’t know she said she would find out and get back to us.  I don’t think we can ask for any more than that.

As much as I am disappointed in the goings on in Washington, I felt that the interest from Congresswoman Walorski was refreshing and was a counterpoint to the disinterest from those that bothered to come.

For those interested, I’ll share my three questions:

  1. That very day I had met with a representative from HUD out of the Indianapolis office to inspect a project of ours.  She informed us that following up on the move to Chicago on all Indiana decisions last year, this year they are talking about closing the entire multifamily section in Indianapolis and relocating those people to either Detroit or Chicago.  This when the Indianapolis HUD office is receiving #1 ratings for productivity.  I posed this question to Congresswoman Walorski with the example question of how projects in Evansville, Indiana can hope to be adequately served by a HUD office in Detroit, Michigan?  This is one question that she didn’t have an answer for and said she would get back to me.
  2. I questioned the difficulty Marshall County and Plymouth are having getting the Metronet in place.  One of the stumbling blocks has been getting permission for the conduit to be placed in the right of way of US 31 while it was under construction.  This seems like a no-brainer and was actually in the budget, but eventually got cut.  This was a follow up on the question I asked her in January and it was obvious in her response that she had looked into it.  For political reasons she asked that it not be published so I will not go into her response here, but I was very encouraged by her interest.
  3. Number three was questioning the Affordable Care Act.  While I think all industries are struggling to know what to do, I feel like the construction industry is one with some of the larger challenges.  Currently there is no guidance on what is going to happen but, despite that, it is scheduled to happen on January 1, 2014.  How am I supposed to bid projects that will run past that time when I have no guidance on what my costs will be?  Add to that the fact that I have attended multiple meetings to try and learn what is going on with little success.  Despite that, I have been one of only one or two contractors in the room.  If my competition ignores this issue and does not include money to cover it they will probably be in trouble, but they will still get the job.  If I put money in to cover it, I would be okay if I got the job, but I won’t get the job.  This feels like a Catch-22 nightmare that has been created and dropped on the shoulders of the American public with no means of coping with it.


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