It has certainly been an interesting week of change. When the 110th U.S. Congress convenes this coming January, we will be seeing dozens of new elected legislators and their newly formed staffs on Capitol Hill. Without regard to political affiliation, rest assured that the AIA will have our own cadre of skilled, informed people at the ready, making appointments, and pressing the agenda of AIA public policy that your Board of Directors has set out to create a better built environment.
Does that mean it's time to take a break? Most definitely, no.
If you've ever pulled in a tug-of-war, you know that the effort isn't over when the center ribbon moves to one side or the other. It's over when you've moved the opposing team to your side. Now, I want to stress again that I'm not talking about ideology here. I am talking about public policy for the common good.
For instance, issues the AIA has been championing and for which movement forward looks promising at the federal legislative level include:
- Sustainability—funding for alternative energy sources, more stringent caps on greenhouse gas emissions, and renewal and strengthening of the Clean Water Act, including to reduce storm-water runoff
- Health care—coverage that is affordable for small businesses
- Taxes—ensuring breaks for historic preservation, affordable housing, and energy-efficient building
- School construction and modernization—reinvigorating the drive for funding.
A perfect example of the coordinated efforts to move these topics ahead at the federal, state, and local levels is sustainability. The Mayor's Institute recently adopted its 2030 Challenge—inspired by the AIA 2006 National Convention pledge to make our buildings carbon-neutral by 2030. We are currently marshalling the resources to achieve that ambitious goal, as outlined in AIArchitect.
Another Board objective is to support AIA members seeking state and local elected office. This is a difficult undertaking, but achievable, as the results of the 2006 elections make clear. A large part of that success can be attributed to AIA-member support for ArchiPAC and our state PACs.
Take encouragement that we are bringing the political debate to the AIA's side. And it will happen when everyone digs in and pulls as hard as hard as we can; in unison.
What do you think?