Your Voice Matters

As you may be aware, the results of the recent election have been finalized.  We can all return to our daily lives and begin to recover from the shell-shock caused by the bombardment of political ads…Now we get to experience first hand how those results will affect not only our profession, but our lives in general. Fortunately, the AIA has succinctly summarized those results here into a digestible read, and capture how they may affect the design professions. To recap, the House was taken by the Democratic party, which brings us back to a divided government (Republicans control the Senate while Democrats control the House). Some believe this may make it difficult to get any major legislation passed due to party conflicts. Only time will tell whether that concern holds true. I for one remain optimistic, but it may require some legwork to stay productive. 

As design professionals, closing ourselves off from the outside world and simply putting our heads down to crank out drawings is not enough. Personally, I believe it is our responsibility to advocate for or against issues that directly affect our profession. After all, if we don’t who will?

AIA National has already taken action by helping pass the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) in October. Here at home, AIA SD and its members helped defeat a temporary licensure bill that would have allowed professionals licensed in a member state to move to South Dakota and practice for 18 months (without a state license) while acquiring their license here. There are some concerns with what this new election cycle could mean for the design professions, but I remain optimistic that everything will work out in the end. What are some issues you would like addressed relating to the design and construction industries, and/or do you have any concerns with how the elections ended up?

Either way, we will need to continue advocating for and against legislation to ensure a healthy and relevant profession.

The AIA has maintained a presence at both the Federal and State levels, but what can we personally do in our local communities? You do not need to run for or hold a public office in order to make a difference – there are numerous methods to get involved. Every city has various volunteer boards that would be a great fit for architects, landscape architects, designers, etc. The open positions are typically listed on each city’s website. For example, the open board positions in Sioux Falls are all listed here.

Many of these boards and organizations would greatly benefit from having design professionals offer their insight and expertise in planning and implementation. At the same time, getting involved offers a great learning opportunity for those who choose to serve.  Beyond the city itself, there are MANY more ways to get involved including (but definitely not limited to) school boards, community boards, volunteer organizations (i.e. Habitat for Humanity), etc. The important thing is simply to get involved in whatever capacity that fits your personal schedule and values.

What are some ways you have been involved, or how would you like to get involved in the future?

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