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HVAC & new congress.

Few things are more exciting than an election, and the 2010 congressional and gubernatorial elections did not disappoint. The entire House of Representatives, one-third of the Senators, and 37 governorships were up for election this year.

When the dust settled (it is still settling in some undecided races at the time of this writing), it was clear that some sweeping changes had occurred, leaving Republicans in a position of power they had not seen for several years, and causing changes in policy and political strategies.

Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, gaining 66 seats, placing their new total at 242 seats to 192 for the Democrats (with one race not yet decided).

In the Senate, Democrats retained control, but lost six seats, lowering their majority to 53 Democrats to 46 Republicans.

Stateside, Republicans won the governorship in 29 states, increasing their pre-election numbers from 24 states.

The burning question is: "do any of these changes really matter to us?" The answer is a resounding "yes." These shifts in power do matter to our industry.

In Congress, new members of the House and Senate bring in new staff, many have either never worked on Capitol Hill and/or don't have much, if any, knowledge or experience with the building industry. This creates a tremendous opportunity for ASHRAE to help fulfill its mission of advancing HVAC&R to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world by educating these new members and their staff on the most pressing issues in our industry and how to address them.

Of course, some exceptions exist. A few new members of congress bring with them useful experience. Here's a list of new members in the House to keep an eye on:

* Daniel Webster, (R-Fla.-08), air-conditioning contractor;

* Mike Pompeo, (R-Kan.-04), has a B.S. in engineering management (mechanical engineering);

* Charlie Bass, (R-N.H.-02), senior advisor for Laidlaw Energy Group (a consultant for clean energy companies);

* Rick Berg, (R-N.D.-at large), senior vice president, owner of GOLDMARK SCHLOSSMAN Commercial Real

Estate Services Inc., (a commercial real estate company);

* Jeff Duncan, (R-S.C.-03), owner of J. Duncan & Associates Inc., (a real estate and auction firm);

* Tim Scott, (R-S.C.-01), partner of the Pathway Real Estate Group;

* Francisco 'Quico' Canseco, (R-Texas), president and director, FMC Developers, Inc. (named by FORTUNE[R] Magazine as the World's Most Admired Oil and Gas Equipment, Service Company in 2010);

* David McKinley, (R-W.Va.-01), principal of McKinley & Associates (professional engineering and architectural design firm); and

* Reid Ribble, (R-Wis.-08), president of Ribble Group Inc., (roofing contractors), and president of the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress.

In the states, a similar educational opportunity exists. New governors will often bring in new officials to oversee and implement their energy policies and programs. As the new governors are determining the specifics of their energy priorities, ASHRAE has an opportunity to affect policy on a broad scale, which is magnified in this instance by the large number of new governors that will take office.

ASHRAE is making progress bringing our technical expertise to bear on high-level policy decisions that affect the building industry and our priority issues. We do this by coordinating with national groups that focus on the federal and/or state levels, and represent the elected officials, through webinars, trainings, speaking engagements, and meetings.

It's a sure bet that the next two years will be interesting. As new governors and members of congress seek to establish themselves, build their accomplishments, serve their constituents, and prepare for the next election, we are actively connecting with them to offer our nonpartisan knowledge and expertise to help them weigh policy decisions in pursuit of our common goals of serving humanity and promoting a sustainable world.

Mark Ames is ASHRAE's manager of government affairs in Washington, D.C. www.
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Title Annotation:Who's Connected to Our Industry; heating, ventilating & air conditioning
Author:Ames, Mark
Publication:ASHRAE Journal
Article Type:Reprint
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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