Next month hundreds of dealers from around the country will meet with representatives of Congress to get the industry's issues and concerns heard by those who matter most.

On Sunday, March 21 through Tuesday, March 23, the NLBMDA will host its annual Legislative Conference at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, D.C. During the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to sit down with their representatives in Congress to discuss issues affecting their companies and the industry as a whole.

Beginning with an opening reception on Sunday night,the event will combine education and training meetings, social events for attendees and spouses, and meetings on Capitol Hill. On Monday morning, participants will attend educational sessions on government affairs and industry issues and will undergo training and coaching in preparation for meetings on the Hill, which will begin Monday afternoon and resume Tuesday morning after a breakfast at the Capitol. The conference also will include a dinner for LuDPAC, NLBMDA's political action committee.

The Legislative Conference not only offers dealers a chance to meet directly with representatives from their areas to discuss issues but also gives the industry a stronger presence among the nation's leaders.“We feel we have the opportunity to create a huge voice on Capitol Hill,” says NLBMDA president Shawn Conrad. With the many different interests Congress faces, it's important for those in the lumber industry to be active.

Some of the legislative issues NLBMDA is working on include tort reform, product liability, and a current bill that would create a fund for resolving asbestos lawsuits. NLBMDA also is in favor of legislation to develop association health plans.

“It does give us a presence on Capitol Hill, it does give us a voice,” Conrad says. “It's also a great way for us to build unity within the industry.”

For more information, call 800.634.8645 or visit the NLBMDA's Web site,