U.S. rep to meet with truckers in Washington state on Aug. 8

| 8/1/2008

In recent months, truckers in Chehalis, WA, have staged two fuel protest rallies in hopes of gaining the attention of media and lawmakers on the dire situation truckers face as they continue to be squeezed by soaring fuel prices. It seems their efforts are paying off.

In April, OOIDA members Sherrie and Bob Bond of Chehalis, WA, met with U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, D-WA, about how high fuel costs are affecting truckers’ livelihoods. In response to that meeting, Baird’s office announced this week that he will be hosting a community forum to discuss the impact of high fuel costs on truckers in Washington state.

Leaders of the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association issued a notice to Washington state truckers on Wednesday, July 30, encouraging them to attend the meeting or submit written comments if they will be on the road during the event.

Sherrie Bond is scheduled to speak during the first hour of the forum, along with other owner-operators who have been affected by record-high fuel prices and low freight rates. A University of Washington researcher who has finished a log truckers’ survey on the impact of operating costs versus stagnant hauling fees has also been invited to speak.

Baird is scheduled to lead the second hour of the forum. State representatives from Washington state, as well as Lewis County commissioners, have been invited to participate. Baird sits on the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which is a key committee for truckers’ concerns.

Garrett Russo, communications director in Baird’s Washington, DC, office, said the meeting will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 8 at W.F. West High School in Chehalis.

Sherrie Bond said the reaction she has been receiving from truckers and others in the community regarding the upcoming forum have been “very encouraging and very positive.”

“We want to encourage as many people as we can to try and make it to this meeting,” Bond told Land Line on Friday, July 25. “This is such a unique opportunity for our trucking community and a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them to speak directly to a congressional delegate on our home turf.”

Bond said the price for a gallon of diesel was $5.15 in Ridgefield, WA, which is about 35 miles north of the Oregon border.

For truckers who will be on the road and who can’t attend the forum, written testimony will also be accepted. Comments can be mailed to:
            Kelly Love, District Director
            General O.O. Howard House
            750 Anderson St., Suite B
            Vancouver, WA 98661

Comments can be submitted via e-mail to: kelly.love@mail.house.gov.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer