While watching coverage of the Iowa Caucus last night, I got to see all of the major candidates make their speeches. Many of them thanked their supporters and volunteers. Many thanked the state of Iowa for a great finish. Others had a grim tone that suggested they may be out of the race. Today we learned that Michele Bachmann has suspended her run.

All of the speeches came with a lot of promises. Every four years the American people get a lot of promises from presidential hopefuls. And many of those promises aren’t quite realized once those candidates get to the White House. Most of the time it is because the president has to deal with a Congress that has a different agenda.

All of the candidates believe they know what is best for business. Many of the hopefuls last night laid out what their plan would be to get the economy back up and running. This included cutting the corporate income tax and stripping regulations that they said were “strangling” small business owners.

I’m not an economist, so I don’t know if these are the solutions. What I do know is that the United States needs to invest in its infrastructure. Democrats and Republicans agree that we need to make our buildings more energy efficient. We need to move towards sustainable energy sources and create “green” jobs. This isn’t a partisan argument. Both parties are pro-construction, but they need to know from the construction industry what will work best. Just like I’m not an economist, most of the politicians don’t know how the sheet metal or construction industry works. There needs to be a coalition of trade workers that can tell Washington what would work best.

This is already happening with our industry associations, such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors National Association. Both have successfully lobbied Capitol Hill to change regulations.

It was also reassuring to see that Republican candidate Mitt Romney stopped by an Iowa-based sheet metal plant in early November. Visits like this from politicians are nothing new, but it does say that the industry is on the candidate’s radar. It also gives the company owner the opportunity to get some face time with that politician.

At the end of the day, I believe that our industry needs to get that face time. Whoever ends up in the White House next year, the work will just be starting. The next president won’t be able to magically turn everything around. It will take everyone in the industry to voice their opinion. And not just to the new president, but all of the new members of Congress. We can’t sit around and hope they know how to fix the industry. They are going to need a little push, and your knowledge of the industry, to get business back on top.