Editor’s Page – December 2020/January 2021

Together

December 2020/January 2021

Jami Jones

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Never has such an innocuous word simultaneously represented the one thing we as a society are being told not to do, as in gather together, yet it’s exactly what we need to do, as in pull together.

It’s hard not to look back on the year of 2020 and not shake your head. It was supposed to be a cool year. The start of new decade. For those who really geek out over new years, it probably felt like a grand opportunity.

That feeling didn’t last long.

The pandemic made it taboo to gather together in large groups. And the size of those groups has shrank and shrank as the coronavirus spread with record numbers of cases being reported daily as I type this.

The country became divided over one of the most contested elections, dare I say, ever? The partisan politics have polarized the country.

Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s president and CEO, opened the fall board meeting with an inspired call for unity. He was speaking specifically to truckers. The need to come together and fight for the interests of the men and women behind the wheel is paramount.

His words resonated with me as I sat alone in my office, socially distanced from others at OOIDA HQ as they held the virtual meeting of the OOIDA Board of Directors in mid-November.

Together, while we were physically apart. That’s the new normal, and it’s the way we will rise up stronger.

Read more about what Todd and others had to say at the Board of Directors meeting starting on Page 50.

There is a saying that news or journalism is the “first rough draft of history.” Journalism historians disagree as to who said or wrote it first, but, regardless, it’s a saying that’s been around at least since the 1940s.

It was something newspapers in particular took seriously. As ink stained wretches (as some of us refer to ourselves), we were proud to be a newspaper of record. We recorded birth announcements and obituaries to mark individuals’ place in history. We recorded city council votes. You get the gist. We memorialized moments in time.

This year is one of those years that truly deserves to be memorialized as a whole. It will be a defining one in our history as a world, a country and even as a trucking industry.

The crackerjack team of Senior Editor Mark Schremmer, Digital Content Editor Greg Grisolano and Staff Writer Tyson Fisher teamed up to take an in-depth look at what 2020 threw at truckers. And, more importantly, how truckers responded. This is one not only worth the read but worth hanging on to for future generations to read. It starts on Page 16.

The presidential election grabbed all of the mainstream headlines, but there was plenty more at stake on those record number of ballots cast back in November – and a lot of them were especially important to truckers.

State Legislative Editor Keith Goble meticulously watched state election results around the country. He has articles on governor elections on Page 44 and transportation funding-related ballot issues starts on Page 45.

Looking ahead to 2021, we have a lot on the burner.

As in any election year, things tend to get busy in agencies at the federal level. This year was no exception. You’ll probably need to take a breather part way through the federal  news section of the magazine that starts on Page 22. We have news on hours of service, broker transparency, employee classifications, pilot programs, drug and alcohol testing, under 21 drivers … I’m almost out of breath just typing part of the list. Suffice it to say, we have another jam-packed issue of need-to-know news that will keep you up to speed on everything coming down the pike.

Well, at least everything we know about.

I’ve joked around that I want to see the terms and conditions for 2021 before I agree to anything. But since that isn’t a thing, I’m just proud of everyone who did come together this year and faced the challenges 2020 presented. And, together is how we will take on 2021. LL

Prepass
Jami Jones

Jami Jones has been in journalism since 1991 – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging Shell SuperRigs or writing hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.