The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) and the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) held their 2018 Joint Legislative Fly-In in late March. Almost 100 attendees spent three days in Washington, D.C., packed full of policy briefings, networking opportunities, and meetings with members of Congress.
Attendees met with Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher, Daniel Fisher, AED vice president of government affairs, and Natalie Higgins, EDA’s vice president of government relations, to talk about the ins and outs of Capitol Hill meetings. During this session, attendees were able to learn how congressional offices operate, how to get your message through to elected officials, and how to effectively engage lawmakers during meetings. To end the first day of the Fly-In, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos from Illinois discussed the progress that has been made to make our legislative body more bipartisan, as well as the importance of urging our members of Congress to engage in bipartisan efforts to positively impact our industry.
The second day was full of legislative panels given by policy experts and various members of Congress. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer started the morning off with a warm welcome to our nation’s capital. Hoyer is the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House, who is widely considered to be the voice of the pro-business wing of the Democratic Party. He reiterated Bustos’ message on the importance of bipartisanism, and how much can be accomplished when both sides come together.
Following Hoyer’s remarks, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the attendees about what he hopes to accomplish during 2018 and how he foresees the midterm elections playing out. McConnell shared that there will be very close races, for it is common two years after the presidential election that majority is lost in both the House and Senate. McConnell also discussed key issues such as infrastructure, trade, and the newly passed tax reform bill. Following McConnell’s address were “Infrastructure,” “Equipment Manufacturer” and “Tax and Trade” policy panels.
The third and final day of the Fly-In started off with an Industry Champions Breakfast. Attendees were able to sit down with members of Congress from key committees who are advocates for the equipment industry. They were able to talk one-on-one about the issues that affect their specific markets and costs of doing business. Members of Congress in attendance included Rep. Mark Amodei (Nev.), Rep. Lou Barletta (Pa.), Rep. Andy Barr (Ky.), Rep. Mike Bost (Ill.), Rep. Rodney Davis (Ill.), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Rep. Jimmy Duncan Jr. (Tenn.), Rep. John Katko (N.Y.), Rep. Roger Marshall (Kan.), and Rep. Scott Tipton (Colo.).