It is hard to believe but fall is upon us. In addition to the leaves changing color and the return of football, Fall 2016 brings with it the close of one of the more colorful election seasons in recent memory. At the presidential level, the choice facing voters includes the two least popular major party candidates in history according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. It is yet to be seen whether this will depress voter turnout or alternatively drive it higher as many Americans vote against a candidate rather than for one. Whatever your motivation, your vote matters so please do get out and vote!
This year our nation’s trade policy has been among the most discussed issues on the campaign trail. Both presidential candidates have vowed to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership and fight against dumping, duty evasion, and currency manipulation by our trading partners in an effort to protect American workers. Unfortunately the tenor of the debate has in many cases moved from enforcement of our trade laws to a demonization of trade generally and imports specifically.
Both on its own and as a member of groups such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the Imports Work for America coalition, IWPA continues to work to educate policymakers about how free and open trade benefits American families and stimulates economic activity here in the U.S. Recent studies have found that 16 million U.S. jobs depend on imports and that imports save the average U.S. family $13,600 each year.
While Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump are arguing for additional trade barriers, there are many Senators and Representatives who have stood up for the Americans’ “Freedom to Trade.” In addition to our activities in Washington, it is important for business leaders like you to reach out to your Congressman and Senators to help them understand how shortsighted protectionism would affect businesses like yours. IWPA’s Manager of Government and Public Affairs, Joe O’Donnell, stands ready to help you invite Members of Congress and their staff to your facility.
I’m sure many of the busy executives among the Import/Export Wood Purchasing News readership have already taken advantage of the early voting opportunities that are becoming more pervasive these days. If not; I would simply encourage you to take the time to vote. Yes, it means an hour or two away from your family and business, but in addition to the presidency there are other important questions such as control of the Senate, your statehouse, and local matters that affect you each day. No matter who you pull the lever for (or push the button or fill in the circle…), it is important that your vote as a leader in your community and our industry is counted.
And if, like me, you live in a swing state, you can revel in the fact that in a few more weeks all those terrible political ads will be a thing of the past.