Never stop fighting

February 2019

Mike Matousek


The results of the 2018 midterm elections will change the political landscape in Washington, D.C., especially in the U.S. House of Representatives. Let’s take a quick look at how this might affect small-business truckers and what you can do to get more involved.

With the change in power in the House from Republicans to Democrats, the new chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure – the primary committee with legislative jurisdiction over trucking issues – is Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. Chairman DeFazio is effectively the Democrat leader on transportation issues in the House, and he generally supports issues that are important to small-business truckers, so we’re excited to see what he’ll focus on over the next two years.

The new ranking member on the transportation committee is Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo. Ranking member Graves is essentially Chairman DeFazio’s counterpart on the Republican side of the aisle. Ranking member Graves also has a long history of working on transportation issues, most recently as chairman of the Highways and Transit subcommittee. So we’re hopeful they can work together to solve the many challenges that concern small-business truckers.

Equally as important, the overall roster of the transportation committee will change quite a bit with Democrats holding more seats and Republicans holding fewer seats. This means we’ll see a lot of new faces on the transportation committee on both sides of the aisle. We’ve already been reaching out to new lawmakers, but – as always – we need your help.

Grassroots efforts work, although admittedly it might not always feel like it. However, it was a grassroots effort that led the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to docket proposed changes to the hours-of-service regulations. It was a grassroots effort that led to a vote to delay the implementation of the ELD mandate (we realize this effort ultimately failed). It was a grassroots effort that handed a legislative defeat to F4A, an underride guard mandate, premature advancement of autonomous trucks, increases to insurance minimums, and speed-limiters.

OOIDA’s government affairs team does everything it can to represent your interests before lawmakers and regulators in D.C. We’re not always successful, but we never stop fighting, and we hope you’ll do the same. Legislative and regulatory issues never truly go away in D.C., and some of the issues we’ve been able to beat back recently will inevitably resurface at some point. While decisions about these issues will be made months or years from now, you can help shape these decisions in a positive way by getting involved now.

As a former congressional staffer, let me give you my personal experience of how this can work and why it’s important. On average, twice a month I would get a phone call from a long-haul trucker who was a constituent of my then-boss. He would give me a rundown on what sort of issues he would encounter out on the road and what he thought about pending legislation and regulations. He was very opinionated, though always very professional. In short, it wasn’t too long before I was calling him on a regular basis to get an unfiltered view of the world through his eyes, and his view definitely shaped trucking-related policy recommendations I made to my boss.

Now it doesn’t always work this way, but it certainly can, and if it does you’ll make a lasting impact on your fellow truckers and those who might follow in your footsteps. You know trucking better than anyone, so don’t be afraid to share that knowledge with those who represent you in Congress. If you have any questions about how to get more involved, the government affairs team is here to help.

As always, thank you for your time and support of OOIDA. LL

J.J. Keller