Over the course of the last year, we have seen unprecedented volatility in the lumber markets. This is based on many things, but none more so than the counter veiling duties and import tariffs on softwood lumber. We have also seen challenges in the workforce within our company and on the job sites we visit every day. Added to this mix is the pressure to create more affordable housing in the face of tougher regulations and rising costs. Rather than facing these issues in the silo or within my small circle of influence, I packed my bags and went to Washington DC.
While in Washington DC, I was able to speak of these issues with our 6th District Representative, Derek Kilmer and 10th District Representative, Denny Heck. I was also able to speak with aids for Senator Marie Cantwell. I was hopeful to speak with Senator Patty Murray as well, but she is very busy and did not have the time available during this visit. I was able to speak with her Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula Regional Director, Colleen Bryan in the weeks leading up to my trip.
During my Capitol Hill visits, I did my very best to leave hot button politics out of the issues by asking for three things.
First, I requested a resolution to the softwood lumber agreement in any form, as this would do a lot to stabilize the market for our customers and for our businesses.
Secondly, was for more federal support for Career and Tech Education (CTE), as a way to begin building the bridge to close the skills gap that exists in the building industry.
I concluded my visit by focusing on the need for Opportunity Zone designations in rural Clallam County as a way to spur investment in multifamily and other affordable housing developments.
As my luck would have it, I was snowed in for an extra day and got to enjoy a snowy stroll through the Capitol Mall to visit the monuments and memorials that tell the story of our great country. Eventually, I was able to leave Washington knowing that the issues that matter to our community, our industry, and my company, were heard.
CEO Lumber Traders, Inc.
Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co., Inc
Hartnagel Building Supply, Inc.