By: Douglas M. Dvorchak, 2019 Chair of the Board, ABC Keystone

ABC Keystone members experienced a great day in Washington, D.C. during the 2019 ABC National Legislative Conference – an event held every year in June. This conference was one of the most productive that I have attended, and we also managed to have a little fun along the way.

The Legislative Day started the night before with a Free Enterprise Alliance Reception. Ed Henry, who currently serves as Fox News Channel’s chief national correspondent, spoke at the reception. Ed brought us an insider’s perspective on Washington politics and the Trump White House which was both insightful and entertaining. In addition, we heard encouraging comments from Rick Scott who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 and is currently serving his first term representing the state of Florida. His message of free enterprise and growing the economy stirred up the crowd.

The next morning, Legislative Day began with an energized and inspirational speech from Representative Dan Crenshaw. In November 2018, Rep. Crenshaw was elected to represent the Second Congressional District of Texas. He served as a Navy Seal with five overseas deployments. On his 3rd deployment, he lost vision in both eyes. After a long struggle and multiple surgeries, he regained sight in his left eye and went on to serve three more overseas deployments. He highlighted his platform of fiscal responsibility and pro-growth agenda for the American economy during his speech.

After Rep. Crenshaw inspired the crowd, ABC members from throughout the nation descended on Capitol Hill. The Keystone contingent had the pleasure to meet with Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10) and Congressman Lloyd Smucker (PA-11). Both Congressmen are pro free enterprise and merit shop champions. They each took the time to thank us for visiting the Hill, our continued support, and for being committed to our values – which they both share as well. Congressman Smucker even took time out of his day to give us a mini tour of the Capitol building and took us out on the Speakers’ balcony, a private area only accessible with a member of the legislature.

Every year, Senator Toomey takes time to personally meet with us and thank us for our continued support knowing that we ask simply for a level playing field and the right to pursue the American Dream. It is great that we have a Congressman who understands who we are and what ABC is trying to accomplish.

Lastly, we met with four of Senator Bob Casey’s staff members. Since being elected to office, Senator Casey has never taken the time to meet with us. We had some open and frank discussion about ABC’s issues, and the young staff members seemed to be eager to discuss our issues with the Senator. It was interesting to see them question why the Senator does not agree with our free enterprise initiatives. I’m not sure if we made up a lot of ground with Senator Casey, but it was fun to educate his staff members.

We need to continue to visit Washington D.C. as well as Harrisburg to help build relationships and to carry the merit shop philosophy to any legislator who is willing to listen. I encourage you to get into politics, as we hear all the time around the Keystone Chapter building: “Get into politics or get out of business.” We need to be vigilant in our efforts to continue activities such as Legislative Day. I know it is only one day out of the year, but it sends a powerful message to our legislators that we believe in our cause and will continue to support those who champion our efforts.

July 29, 2019