Never take elections for granted

October 2018

Collin Long

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Elections have consequences.

Since the phrase was popularized by President Obama following his 2008 White House victory, it’s become commonly used in political conversations in and around Washington, D.C., especially during campaign season.

From a practical standpoint, “consequences” in this case means an agenda that may not be universally popular. While the phrase may be slightly obvious and a tad flippant, it’s a powerful reminder that elections can never be taken for granted. As the nation girds itself for November’s midterm congressional elections, every trucker should consider these words before heading to the polls.

This year, the consequences are paramount. Not only will your local or statewide election determine who represents you in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, it could very well determine which party controls the legislative branch in 2019. In November, Democrats have what appears to be a strong chance to regain control of both chambers of Congress. Winning a majority in one chamber will dramatically alter the agenda in Washington over the next two years. Winning both would likely be – well, I don’t even know what to expect anymore, but it will be intriguing.

Don’t assume I’m about to make a partisan pitch about any individual candidates or the agenda of one of the national parties. While it may be the most talked about element of this election, I actually think who wins control is rather inconsequential. OOIDA’s strength is in its ability to work with members of both parties to develop policies that benefit truckers. We’ll be ready to rock and roll in 2019 no matter who is calling the shots in D.C. We just need the right people in office. This is where I want you to most closely consider the consequences of your vote.

Have the candidates running for office in your area shown any interest in addressing the issues that matter most to truckers – issues that directly affect your livelihood and the well-being of your family? Do they understand something must be done to reduce detention time? Do they know improving driver compensation is good for the economy and highway safety?

If there’s a candidate running for reelection in your district or state, how have they voted on critically important measures before Congress, like delaying the ELD mandate or removing harmful Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act language from bills? Have they supported OOIDA’s recent efforts to provide relief from the ELD mandate to small businesses or ensure glider kits remain an affordable option for truckers?

Sending representatives and senators to Washington who haven’t demonstrated any interest in addressing what matters to truckers has consequences, and we both know they aren’t great. Sure, a major part of my job as an OOIDA lobbyist is getting these officials to understand, appreciate and prioritize advancing your interests, but it’s better for both of us if they are ready to do it on Day 1.

The consequences of an election will always be better for truckers when the winning candidates have demonstrated a commitment to helping you. LL

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