SHRM Advocacy Team Spotlight – Congressional Recess Activity by Sandra Sockwell, Shoals Chapter SHRM

2014-09-16 | , Society for Human Resource Management

The Shoals Chapter SHRM was pleased to host Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who presented the Chapter’s program at Cypress Lakes Golf and Country Club in Muscle Shoals, AL, on Thursday, August 14.  Since he had visited our Chapter a time or two in the past, and we had visited him many times in regular SHRM Hill Visits, for this meeting we asked him to tell us what was going on in Washington, DC.  He spent most of the time explaining his views on immigration reform.  Very detailed, he laid out the reasons he and Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) are so adamant that reform be approached in a comprehensive way.  We see that Rep. Brooks voted “Aye” on H.R. 2575, the “Save American Workers Act,” which defines full-time employees as working 40 hours instead of 30 as under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  Also, Rep. Brooks was listed as a new co-sponsor, along with several others, of the “Legal Workforce Act” (H.R. 1772), subtitled, “Supplying Knowledge-Based Immigrants and Lifting Levels of STEM Visas Act.”  We believe these bills are good for America’s workforce and business—and that they support HR best practices. 

We are fortunate to have Rep. Brooks’ field representative, Laura Webb Smith, attend our Shoals Chapter meetings whenever her schedule permits.  When the A-Team sent the first reminder about the then-upcoming August recess, I phoned her immediately and she arranged for the Representative to visit us since he would be home on our meeting date.  It has been rewarding to have a field rep interested in helping an elected official realize how important the HR community is for supporting American business interests, as well as the interests of our several thousand employees represented by the Shoals Chapter’s members.  When SHRM was encouraging officials during Hill Visits to support making Section 127 of the IRS Code permanent a few years ago, we encouraged Rep. Brooks, an economist by education, to check out the bill to see if he could/would support it.  To our excitement, he signed on as a co-sponsor to that bill in the House!  And it passed.  Now that was a rush. 

We are encouraged to have such a relationship established with an elected official who values the input of his constituents and who arranges to visit us when District visits coincide with our meeting dates.  We heartily encourage all Chapters to try a similar approach.  Savvy staffers, we’ve found, blaze the way to an official’s schedule!

Sandra Sockwell, Ph.D., SPHR

Shoals Chapter SHRM

Florence, AL

SHRM A-Team Member