In 2004 members of the board of trustees of NLBMDA's Lumber Dealers Political Action Committee (LuDPAC) set their sights on one priority race, the open Senate seat in North Carolina. Republican congressman Richard Burr and former Clinton adviser Erskine Bowles were squaring off in what was rapidly becoming one of the most expensive Senate campaigns of the season. With a charge to support candidates who support NLBMDA's pro-business, pro–legal reform agenda, the LuDPAC board identified Richard Burr as a potential ally in the U.S. Senate and LuDPAC contributed $5,000 to his campaign. Building material dealers across North Carolina also were engaged in the campaign. Mickey Boles, past chairman of the Southern Building Material Association, hosted the candidate for a tour of Smith Phillips Building Supply's yard in Winston-Salem. Our collective work paid off on Election Day, when Burr defeated Bowles by a margin of 5 percent.
Burr has proven to be a strong advocate for the building material industry in the Senate. Just weeks after he was sworn into office in January 2005, the Class Action Fairness Act that had failed by one vote a year earlier was finally passed by the Senate and signed into law. Senator Burr has gone on to support landmark bankruptcy reform legislation, serves on the important Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and is a co-sponsor of permanent death tax repeal. In the 2006 elections, there will be many more pro-business candidates who will need our industry's support. To learn how you can be involved with LuDPAC in electing industry champions to Congress, visit our Web site at www.dealer.org and click on Government Affairs, or contact Laura Levitan, NLBMDA legislative assistant, at 800.634.8645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.