The Equipment Dealers Association recently returned from its 2019 Legislative Fly-In. The event, attended by dealers from several regional associations, brought nearly 40 equipment dealers to Washington, D.C. for several days of policy briefings, networking opportunities and meetings with members of Congress.
Tuesday, March 5th marked the official start of Fly-In programming and attendees heard from several policy experts in preparation their meetings with legislators. Jade West, Chief Government Relations Officer for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors kicked off the morning with a lively discussion on tax policy. She was followed by Palmer Schoening, Chairman of the Family Business Coalition who dug deeper into the Estate Tax and why our industry should be lobbying for a full repeal.
Next up was Robbie Boone with the Rebuild Rural Coalition. Robbie covered several topics close to the heart of dealers, many of whom operate or service customers in rural areas. Robbie shared information on rural infrastructure including broadband, energy, transportation and water.
The last speaker of the day was Loretta Greene who has served in three presidential administrations (George HW Bush, George W Bush and Donald Trump). Most recently Loretta served as the Senior Advisor for SelectUSA, the US foreign direct investment program in Global Markets. Loretta shared information on trade and workforce development with the group.
Following our speakers, the group was invited to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS). Here, dealers learned about the methodology behind NASS reporting, took a tour of the lockup room and delved deeper into trade issues impacting the industry. This was a unique experience that our group was privileged to take part in and will not soon forget.
Wednesday, March 6th we hit the hill! Dealer groups representing EDA, the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA), Far West Equipment Dealers Association (FWEDA), Midwest-Southeastern Equipment Dealers Association (MSEDA) and the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association (NEDA) visited over 35 members of Congress throughout the day. Dealers were lobbying on our four major legislative priorities for 2019:
- Permanent Death Tax Repeal
- Rural Infrastructure Investment
- Workforce Support/Immigration Reform
Towards the end of the day Wednesday, EDA and INEDA staff and dealers met with Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa. The group had the honor of presenting Senator Ernst with EDA’s third annual Legislative Leadership Award. The award recognizes a leader in Washington who is a champion for legislation that benefits our industry and advances EDA’s mission of building the best business environment for equipment dealers. Senator Ernst is the first woman to serve in Federal elected office from Iowa and also became the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the U.S. Senate. She has been a champion for the Farm Bill, Tax Reform, Education and Rural Development.
The Equipment Dealers Association will continue to lobby on behalf of dealers through the United States on these and other important issues. EDA also lobbies in Ottawa on behalf of its Canadian members.