By Dennis Slater
AEM President

Six months ago, in the sizzling summer heat of Des Moines, we engaged with seven presidential contenders at our I Make America booth at the Iowa State Fair. Last Monday night – as a blizzard threatened – a record number of Iowans gathered in schools and town halls across the state to caucus for their candidates.

The caucus results reflected the anxieties of many voters about their financial security and future opportunity for America’s middle class. Now more than ever, a sense of frustration is prodding voters to look beyond politics-as-usual and question how our nation can correct its economic course.

We know that because those frustrations are shared by many manufacturing voters across the country, who want to hear more about how candidates’ policies will support manufacturing before giving them their votes.

That sentiment underlies many of AEM’s efforts this election year.

That’s why I was on Iowa radio last week to talk about manufacturing issues. I wanted to remind Iowans to put manufacturing “front and center” as they prepared to hold the nation’s first presidential nominating contest.

It’s also why our 2016 AEM Chair, Leif Magnusson, attended last week’s presidential debate with Weiler CEO Pat Weiler. Leif noted that while parts of the debate addressed important issues like corporate tax reform and bringing manufacturing jobs back to the United States, it was disappointing that issues like improving our infrastructure, reforming the tax code and developing trade agreements were neglected.

Those efforts, of course, build upon the many others AEM has undertaken to communicate directly to Congress and elected officials about issues like infrastructure, trade, taxes, regulation and a strong agricultural economy.

But as the public’s attention turns to the 2016 campaign trail, we want to make sure we help voters channel their frustration effectively. Because too often, rhetoric doesn’t meet reality and we want to help manufacturing voters tell the difference.

As a result, our I Make America campaign will help manufacturing voters this year by providing them with the tools they need to make informed decisions. Check out the resources we assembled and distributed to AEM members and manufacturing voters in Iowa before the caucuses.

We’ll continue to produce these tools for manufacturing voters across the map this election year. To make sure you have the tools you need, sign up as an I Make America supporter if you haven’t already. And be sure to watch for an announcement as the I Make America tour hits the road again this spring to bring the manufacturing message to AEM members across the country.

We’ve come a long way since last summer, but we still have more to go. Make it your resolution this year to be a manufacturing voter.

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