’Optimistic’ views follow Election Day; poll worker inspired by process

| 11/5/2008

Key lawmakers and officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are expressing hope that a change in the country’s administration will mean a change for the better for highway users and truckers.

“Our new president is facing more and bigger challenges than in any time in my memory on many issues of tremendous importance,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “We are very optimistic an Obama administration will take a realistic look at the Bush administration’s ill-conceived Mexican truck pilot project and end it until safety and security issues with Mexican trucks are actually resolved.

“We are also very optimistic a new administration will come up with a better method for funding highways and bridges than putting tolls on them or putting them up for sale.”

As recently as mid-October during a speech in Toledo, OH, Obama pledged to create 2 million jobs by rebuilding the nation’s crumbling roads, schools and bridges. That kind of commitment to the nation’s infrastructure is something that key lawmakers on Capitol Hill asked for as recently as Election Day.

U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Mary Peters about the topic of infrastructure funding sources this week. To read Land Line Staff Writer David Tanner’s report on that story, click here.

OOIDA member inspired by experience at polling place
OOIDA member Robert (Bob) E. Esler of Taylor, MI, was expecting a long day when he signed up to work at a local polling place, but being a trucker he knew he could survive a long day.

What Esler wasn’t necessarily expecting was the overwhelmingly positive day he had on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

He said voters started lining up more than an hour before the polls opened at 7 a.m. There was a steady stream most of the day. At one point, Esler said, he estimates that there was a voter per minute at the voting stations in his polling place.

Esler’s precinct has 1,408 registered voters. Of those, he said, 679 voted in person on Election Day and more than 200 more voted by absentee ballot. Similar high percentages of voters turned out across the country, and Esler said he was inspired by the turnout.

He said volunteering to work the polls is part of a citizen’s civic responsibility, just like jury duty or communicating with one’s legislators.

“Well worth the experience,” he told Land Line Magazine on Nov. 5.

– By Land Line staff