This Story is by Tim Semple, Area Manager, Assembly Operations, Volvo CE
Until you’ve taken part in some sort of advocacy event, you’re never quite sure how much our elected officials are willing to listen to what you have to say about policy.
Most folks probably assume politicians have an agenda and aren’t going to take in consideration what we have to say. Fortunately, as part of my experiences visiting Washington, D.C. this year with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Infrastructure Week activities those notions were put to bed.
I’m from Amberson, a small community of about 2,000 in south central Pennsylvania, where the Keystone State shares a border with Maryland. I go to work every day for Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, where we manufacture compactors, pavers, and loaders.
That’s a big reason why Volvo CE likes to take part in our industry’s engagement with elected officials. Because sound governmental policy helps provide the framework for new public and private infrastructure projects – like building new roads, bridges, highways and more. But unless we share with them why those policies matter or how they best help our business, they may not ever be sure what works for us.
How my voice is helpful in process became clear in two advocacy events this year, including what folks call “Infrastructure Week” in Washington.
After taking part, I found it very reassuring and refreshing to see that our emails and phone calls are taken seriously. I learned from the staff and officials that I met with, that they are all logged and entered into groups. That way, when our representative needs to cast a vote he knows how his constituents feel and factors that into his or her decision.
Infrastructure Week was also impressive – which is a week-long campaign by many groups and industries to try to focus all of Congress on the issue. There are panel discussions, press conferences, speeches, and more throughout the whole week – all on infrastructure.
As part of my part my role in Infrastructure Week, a few co-workers and I got to take part in a press conference organized by AEM. We spoke in front of reporters, Senators, Representatives, and a variety of other companies and businesses interested in modernizing our nation’s infrastructure.
If I had to take away one thing from experiences this year – if you are not already calling or sending emails to your representative about things that concern you, you need to start. Our elected officials do take our voices seriously. We all need to get more involved.
Looking ahead to 2019, I’m hopeful. We need an infrastructure bill passed and it needs to be a long term bill. Without a long term bill we will be facing the same issues for the next decade that we are facing today.