Down-ballot races are important to manufacturers in 2016By Nick Yaksich, AEM Senior Vice President and Head of AEM's Washington, D.C. Office  

Every election season, it’s easy for voters to get caught up in the battle at the top of the ticket – this year, Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump.

But this year, the battles for House and Senate seats, governors’ mansions and state legislative districts are maybe more important for equipment manufacturers than ever.

It’s no secret that many voters aren’t too thrilled about our options in the presidential campaign. But it would be a mistake for them to stay home or ignore the important battles playing out down-ballot. Instead, the ugly presidential campaign means it is doubly important to protect incumbents and candidates who support manufacturing issues – especially if a “wave” election in favor of either Clinton or Trump begins to form over the summer.

Manufacturing issues aren’t partisan issues. AEM is working hard to build consensus in Washington around investing in our infrastructure, pro-manufacturing trade agreements, strong agriculture policy (including protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard), and reforming our taxes to help U.S. manufacturers stay competitive. Manufacturing voters can’t lose sight of the fact that we need good legislators to enact these pro-manufacturing laws, not just a president to sign the laws.

This is especially true on the state level. Given the gridlock in Washington, most of the heavy legislative lifting has fallen to state capitals in recent years. From road funding bills to rewrites of the rules governing manufacturer-dealer relationships, high-stakes issues for equipment manufacturers are playing out on the state level now more than ever.

At AEM, we’ll continue to engage our members and their workers through I Make America and other platforms to make sure people understand where and when they can make a difference on behalf of manufacturing. This election is too important to sit out.