By Rod Nofziger
OOIDA Director of Government Affairs
Voter anger toward Capitol Hill at both Congressional Democrats and Republicans is significant, to say the least, right now. The anti-incumbent, “throw the bums out” sentiment is a constant refrain being heard in the media, at truck stops and most any place folks gather.
But will that frustration result in major changes on Capitol Hill? Will the 112th Congressional session kick off next January with a slew of new lawmakers and a significantly altered political landscape?
By all accounts, the 2010 Congressional elections will be noteworthy. While we don’t know what will change, we do know what will remain the same.
I recently read that before Led Zeppelin recorded and released their classic tune “The Song Remains the Same,” the band would refer to the song at their concerts as “The Campaign.” This struck me as being incredibly pertinent to OOIDA’s efforts on Capitol Hill.
Regardless of who wins or loses or how the composition of Congress is altered after the political campaigns are over – for us, the song essentially remains the same. We may change our lobbying strategies a bit, but issues like hours-of-service, excessive detention time, EOBRs, cross-border trucking with Mexico, interstate tolling and scarce truck parking are not going away anytime soon – even if massive changes come to Capitol Hill.
We still must continue to educate lawmakers – new or old, Republican or Democrat or other – on the trucking industry in the U.S. and on the realities that truck drivers face every day. We still have to push those lawmakers toward policies and decisions that benefit small-business truckers and other hard working people who have chosen to make their living behind the wheel.
Above all, we will continue to fight the good fight against the numerous deep-pocketed entities that seek to sway those lawmakers toward actions that threaten the livelihoods and quality of life of folks in the truck-driving community. LL