Strong turnout of voting truckers sure to help shape trucking’s future

October 2018

Mike Matousek

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In November, tens of millions of voters across the country will go to the polls to vote in the midterm elections. While it is impossible to predict the outcome, voters control the fate of Congress, state legislatures, local officials, and numerous ballot initiatives. The midterm elections also might reflect President Trump’s performance, whether good or bad.

In the U.S. Senate, there are roughly 35 incumbents up for re-election this fall. There are easily enough seats in play to expand Republican control of the Senate or for the Democrats to regain control of the upper chamber. In the U.S. House, Republicans have a 236-193 margin of control over Democrats. Political pundits make enough predictions about the outcome of the midterms that some of them are bound to be right, but at OOIDA we are just hoping that commonsense, small-business-minded lawmakers prevail.

We’ve heard the phrase “elections have consequences” quite a bit in the past two years. That’s because it’s true. The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is chaired by outgoing Republican Rep. Bill Shuster, so we know that beginning in 2019 there will be someone new with the gavel. If Republicans retain control of the House, Missouri Rep. Sam Graves is the frontrunner to chair the T&I committee. If Democrats regain control of the House, Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio is expected to control the gavel.

Thankfully, Rep. Graves and Rep. DeFazio both have a pretty good track record of supporting small-business truckers. But it’s also something that most people might not think about, mostly because it’s considered “inside baseball” (or something only insiders in D.C. really care about). However, it’s something we think about every single day.

In the coming years, Congress will once again address federal highway funding, trucking policies, and numerous other surface transportation-related issues. The midterm elections will determine which party will have more influence in the decision-making process, including issues such as tolling, speed limiters, insurance minimums, detention time, hours of service, and so forth. So, yes, elections do have consequences.

Earlier this year, OOIDA informally surveyed our members to ask how many would likely vote in the midterm elections; 91 percent said “yes” while 9 percent said “no.” This confirms to us – and to elected officials and candidates running for office – that a majority of small-business truckers exercise the right to vote, and that is a great thing.

While we are not going to predict what will happen in the midterms, we would be interested to know what you think. If you have a political prediction, please email it to mike_matousek@ooida.com.

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

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