U.S. Reps. Hanna, Ribble reflect on legislative achievements in construction, infrastructure

By Mark McCallum posted 07-19-2016 04:03 PM


U.S. Reps. Richard Hanna (R-NY 22nd) and Reid Ribble (R-WI 8th) are retiring from Congress this year at the end of their terms, but not without working on significant legislation for the surety and construction industries. In recent interviews, they spoke about their accomplishments and challenges in Congress.




Hanna said the most enjoyable part of his six years in Congress has been learning what it takes to make a bill become law, with a “perfect example” being the surety provisions that were included in the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which took about four years to accomplish. Hanna is chairman of the Contracting and Workforce Subcommittee of the House Committee on Small Business, and he also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


One provision of the NDAA tightens requirements for individual sureties looking to back federal construction projects, while the other raises the bond guarantee provided through the Small Business Administration's Surety Bond Guarantee Preferred Program.


Hanna knew exactly what the surety industry was talking about when they voiced their concerns on those issues, and he had the ability to bring that knowledge of the industry's importance to other lawmakers.


“I was lucky because I had been in construction all my life, and bonding–and the ability to bond in larger dollar amounts–really was the lifeblood of my business,” he said.


Hanna is proud of his transparent, independent record while serving in Congress, having written detailed explanations of every vote. He cited the increasing partisanship as one reason he is leaving Congress.


“The goal is to strive for compromise and peace and for people to feel as though they have investment in a system that represents them, too,” he said.


Hanna said he never envisioned himself serving three terms and that he is unsure of what he will do next. But he does have “a backlog of things that I need to do” and wants to focus on his family.


Last month, NASBP presented Hanna with an award at the NASBP Legislative Fly-in, acknowledging and thanking Hanna for his support of the surety and construction industries. See the May/June 2016 NASBP Pipeline article about the Fly-in




Ribble said when first elected that he would serve no more than four terms. And after serving six years, he said it’s “the people that are the best part – for me personally, building a relationship with the folks that work on behalf of my constituents, both here and in Wisconsin.”


While legislative achievements are “cast in sand” and can be changed by the next Congress, “human relationships can last a lifetime” and are the most memorable part of his experience, he said.


Ribble also serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. One of his most notable achievements has been the “streamlining that has taken place” on a five-year transportation bill passed recently and the two-year bill before that, he said.


He has built a career as a roofing contractor and says that his knowledge of the construction industry was a valuable part of his office's role in passing the highway legislation.


The next steps for Ribble are likely to include a return to commercial roofing in Wisconsin, he said. He also plans to work on the national level with the National Roofing Contractors Association, of which he served as president in 2005-06 and as a board member for 20 years.


Their knowledge of the construction industry and surety issues will be certainly missed in the coming Congress.