Professional Engineers Of North Carolina

SUM 2014

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4 the Professional Engineer Summer 2014 Join the PAC With more than 600 political action committees — PACs — in North Carolina and even more special-interest groups and constituencies, it's difcult for an individual, let alone a small group, to be heard among all the competing interests. Distinguishing yourself and having elected ofcials and other decision-makers listen to you and incorporate your ideas and recommendations into policy or legislation is even more challenging. Some say the larger the group, in terms of individuals and funding, the more infuence it has. And while conceding that this is important, it also is just as important to be recognized for your credibility and knowledge, since that is what truly distinguishes you from the rest. According to many public opinion polls, engineers are considered to be one of the most trusted professionals, and this is a tremendous advantage when lobbying for your interests at the state and federal levels. But engineers are not known for being vocal and active in the political process, so as a profession, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to speak with one voice and leverage the infuence we have by collaborating. Te Engineers PAC of North Carolina — E-PAC — is the only PAC representing the interests of the engineering profession and the business of engi- neering. It gives you — as an engineer or future engineer — the chance to join forces with individu- als who share your interests and have a "voice" in the political process. PACs are mechanisms by which individuals can pool their contributions, creating a commit- tee that chooses to fnancially support political candidates that they believe best represent their interests. For a PAC that operates within the strict letter of the law, there is nothing unethical or "dirty" about this process. PACs are legal and guaranteed by the First Amendment. Additionally, there are specifc rules and reporting requirements that all PACs must follow. E-PAC, which has an elected board of trustees representing its parent organizations — Professional Engineers of North Carolina and American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina — is structured with more oversight and transparency than the law requires. It has its own bylaws, separate from the parent organizations, that dictate how it operates. It also has a treasurer who reviews fnancial information, ensuring that all reporting requirements are met. In addition, E-PAC uses specifc, relevant criteria to evaluate political candidates to determine if they will receive contributions. All the proceedings from E-PAC board meetings are available to members through the meeting minutes, and contributions to political candidates are readily disclosed if requested. In previous years, E-PAC has been ranked in the top 50 of all PACs based on the total contributions that were made to political candidates. But recently, we have fallen to the top 100 and are well behind other professional groups. While we have typically contributed between $40,000 and $50,000 during a typical two-year election cycle, that number has been cut in half. Some of the top PACs are contrib- uting more than $500,000. Our contributions do not come close to what engineers are capable of contributing. If every professional engineer licensed in North Carolina gave $25, E-PAC would collect more than $400,000, pushing it into the top 10. And we wouldn't be far behind the North Carolina Realtors PAC, which is currently listed as the No. 1 PAC in the state. Tere has never been a better time to become politically involved. With the exciting Senate race this fall and many state legislative seats in play, it is important that we support candidates who we know support the profession and business of engineering. Tese individuals need our help to be elected or re-elected, so they can infuence policy and legisla- tive issues in a way that is favorable to the engineer- Decision-makers need to hear our collective and trusted voice F r o m t h e e x e c u t i v e D i r e c t o r B y B e t s y B a i l e y

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