Careers in Construction: Big Focus in November Election

(left to right) Paul Junge, Jim Struble, Keith Ledbetter, Kevin McCarthy, John James, and Tom Barrett engage in a tour of SEMCA

ABC SEMI Connected Members to Influential Leaders in DC to Discuss Obstacles in the Industry

The summer of 2022, ABC Southeastern Michigan was an attractive association to visit heading into the November election.

The association hosted the minority speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy. The congressman was joined by John James, Tom Barrett and Paul Junge, all of whom ran for seats in the House.

The visit started with a tour of the Southeast Michigan Construction Academy to highlight the training programs offered by the association’s education affiliate. ABC president and CEO Keith Ledbetter gave an in-depth overview of the training facility and what students learn.

“It’s very important we show the congressman the impact our training programs have on the students and the industry as a whole,” Ledbetter said. “We need support in Congress to keep growing to support the industry and our members. Now that Congressman McCarthy has been here along with three locals running for congress, we can hope for greater support to connect more people to well-paying careers on a national scale.”

Alongside the tour, Congressman McCarthy, James, Barrett, and Junge engaged in a round table discussion with ABC members to understand what obstacles they are facing as construction business owners.

“This current administration has made it so hard to get through financially,” said Tad Martin, owner of TMX Contracting. “Certainly, as a business owner it’s been hard, but I met a woman at the gas station last week who didn’t have enough money to fill up her car. What’s worse—she probably voted for this administration and it’s failing her.”

Congressman McCarthy ended the roundtable with a note of encouragement that those who joined him for the tour will head to DC shortly and help members.

Shortly after Congressman McCarthy’s visit, former Ret. Lt. General Keith Kellogg spent an afternoon at the ABC SEMI office. Kellogg was in town for the Back the Blue event hosted by Brighter Michigan PAC.

With an insightful discussion about national security, General Kellogg provided his perspective of the economic downturn and the threats to the American Dream.

“We should never take what we have for granted,” said General Kellogg. “Freedom is a precious thing that can be stripped away any second. It takes dedicated individuals to fight and protect our ideals as Americans. Fortunately, I think I’m sitting in a room full of these individuals.”

  • McCarthy, Junge, and James are ready to get down to business with the welding equipment