We're On The Same PageWritten By: Dale Leppo
Article Date: 11-01-2006
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Dealers value government and tax policy, and regulatory advocacy in D.C.
We just had our Ohio Equipment Distributors Association (OEDA) Annual Meeting. At the OEDA meeting, I was introduced to AED's newest staff member, Mike Fotty. Mike is the new Director of Membership at AED. His role will be to focus on making sure that AED is in touch with the needs of our members and that AED is supplying important services and information to your companies.
Mike will be asking many of you for feedback on AED activities over the next year as he travels to local group meetings or meets with current and prospective members. Mike comes to us with several decades of experience working with AED members, and we look forward to him enhancing the value of your membership in AED.
I experimented with a feedback mechanism at the meeting. One of the "benefits" of being AED Chairman is that I have suddenly become popular as a speaker at such events. (I've heard from others that my popularity will last almost exactly 12 months and that I should not get used to it.) I took the opportunity to conduct a short survey of my local group. I asked the group to rank the services AED provides in importance, rating them from 1 to 10 with 1 not at all important and 10 very important.
The results tell me OEDA members (in general) agree with the priorities we have identified as key benefits of AED for members and that my next question was relevant: How do you feel about the November 2006 elections? I asked them to select no more than three "feelings" from a list. The responses follow each.
There were two "write in" votes for Nervous and Defeated. The most common three-word combination was "Concerned/Nauseated/Know It Is Important."
I'm writing this in mid-October, and so don't know how the November elections are going to turn out. I do know that the mood (post-Foley) of many Republicans is pretty grim. The most important take-away for me is that OEDA members indicated AED's activities in Government Affairs are important to them (i.e. highest number of votes in my first question), and that they are concerned about who will lead our government (i.e. highest number of votes in the second question.)
No matter who controls Congress in January 2007, it's important that our voices are heard in Washington. Both the AED Washington Office and the AED Board of Directors have heard that message, and we will be there.
The battle over funding for the next highway bill has already started. The Highway Trust Fund is likely to run out of money before we get to the end of the current highway program. At present, there is no obvious mechanism in place to replenish those funds, and so the discussion over how the federal highway program will be funded in 2009 and beyond is likely to be a very drawn out and contentious debate.
AED is also "Concerned" and we "Know it is important." We will keep you informed as the debate progresses.
My next stop is the AEM Annual Meeting in Boca Raton, Fla. I'm looking forward to listening to some interesting speakers, hearing what our manufacturers are saying about 2007, and (maybe) finding a little time to enjoy the Florida weather.
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