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Category: Build-Remodel-Topics

HBA meets with congressional delegates, participates in national federation meetings

HBA of F-M and North Dakota Association of Builders leadership traveled to Washington, D.C., for the National Association of Home Builders’ Spring Leadership Conference earlier this month.

Hear from two of our national delegates, HBA President Elect Mike Lemke, Lemke Home Improvements, Inc., and HBA President David Reid, Radiant Homes, reflecting on the trip. They participated in meetings alongside NAHB Senior Life Director Don Dabbert, Jr., Dabbert Custom Homes; HBA CEO Bryce Johnson; HBA Education & Public Affairs Coordinator Elizabeth Kosel and several other NDAB members and staff.


Above: HBA of F-M and NDAB's contingent that visited Washington, D.C.

Click here to view NAHB's video highlights of the Spring Leadership Conference (you must be logged in to access).


Thoughts from 

Mike Lemke, HBA of F-M President Elect

Our first meeting of the day was with U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) and while short, was a good meeting. We discussed NAHB's top priority issues including transformers, energy codes, workforce issues and housing affordability.

Since I am a Minnesota business owner and a licensed contractor in Clay County, I decided to attend meetings with the Builders Association of Minnesota during the time before other North Dakota meetings. Our first was with U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, and while she was unable to attend, we did meet with one of her staffers. After that, we met with U.S. Rep. Brad Finstad, and our final meeting was with U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach who represents the district that Clay County is part of (District 7). I shared the HBA of F-M’s Permits Plus report at each meeting and left it behind so they could see the comparisons between cities in our area and how policies affect Minnesota and North Dakota.

I also attended: 

  • National Association of Home Builders’ President’s Council which is a meeting with NAHB leadership assisting association leaders in improving their organization's impact, efficiency and effectiveness; 
  • Area 10 Caucus consisting of members from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin; and 
  • NAHB’s Leadership Council, the final meeting of the week. NAHB Leadership Council is made up of members who have been nominated by their local and state associations to act as the voice of the home building industry. As delegates, we give direction on advocacy issues and industry policy.


Above: Mike and Kylah Lemke, far right, outside of U.S. Rep. Michelle Fischbach’s (MN) office.


Thoughts from

David Reid, HBA of F-M President

It was evident that our North Dakota senators and congressman value hearing directly from their constituency.  We have heard that often from NAHB staff, leadership, lobbyists, as well as from our senators and congressman themselves, but it felt apparent when we were meeting on the Hill. I do think that the investment made and time spent making this in-person visit is worthwhile.

I feel confident that our delegation understand and sympathize with the issues that we brought to them as homebuilders. I feel that we have “like-minded” representatives and that they are representing our federation well.

At the Leadership Council meetings, we heard from Jim Tobin (NAHB’s new president and CEO) to hear his vision for NAHB.  I think he will be a great leader and asset to the federation. I, together with our “area” (area 10) got to hear more about and discuss the issues, challenges, efforts, and successes we are all experiencing within our Midwest region. 

“Good to know” items:

  • Total housing inventory is still historically low. Existing home inventory is even lower, showing some support for demand in new construction.
  • A skilled labor shortage persists and there are a large number of open construction positions nationally.
  • 2023 so far has seen the first year-over-year percentage DECLINE in residential construction costs since late 2020. There’s finally some relief in cost increases although inflation is still high.
  • Lumber prices are back “down to earth” …for now! We still need long-term solutions to supply.  
  • Single-family housing starts decreased 32% from Q4 2020 to Q1 2023.  Expect modest growth from now throughout 2023.
  • Interest rates look to be on a down trend in the future (looking out to 2024). Numbers are down for 2023 on builds but that also looks to be rebounding in 2024. 
  • 2024 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will come out Q1 of 2024.
  • Overall energy efficiency level will go up by 6-7% (whole house energy usage).
  • IECC is set on a “glidepath” (as they called it) to NET ZERO energy by 2030. So, we can expect substantial moves toward this goal with every new code cycle. Electrification is coming!
  • Transformer shortage nationwide was a big talking point.
  • NAHB is constantly battling heavy regulation of the homebuilding industry, now more than ever. Regulation = Higher Costs!


Above: David Reid, second from right, meeting with U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (ND).