By Nick Yaksich, AEM Senior Vice President, Government and Industry Relations
AEM is proud to represent the interests of equipment manufacturers on a variety of policy issues, from infrastructure and strong agriculture to trade and tax reform (and beyond). And while we’re proud to serve as a leading trade association on many of these issues, we often amplify our efforts through coalition work with similar industry groups who share our goals on policy outcomes.
Coalitions give equipment manufacturers a chance to pool our personnel and resources to help make an even bigger impact on issues that matter to AEM members. Our members saw a good example of that this May when we joined with other members of the Transportation Construction Coalition to host members from 31 associations and labor unions for the TCC’s annual federal issues Fly-In.
The TCC Fly-In brought more than 400 people to Washington to storm Capitol Hill and urge members of Congress to make good on President Trump’s pledge to invest in our infrastructure. The logic is simple: Our message comes through more clearly when all of our groups, representing a broad swath of the construction industry, speak with one voice.
However, coalitions offer benefits beyond multiplied lobbying strength. Coalitions enable those of us in AEM’s Washington office to enhance our networks and learn more important information about developments shaping issues that affect our industry. Similarly, our involvement with coalitions can open additional doors for AEM to access key influencers who handle industry issues. And coalitions also brings AEM closer to customer groups (like contractors, farmers and more) so that we can work together for shared business growth.
In addition to the TCC, we work on infrastructure through Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups. There are other important group efforts on infrastructure in which AEM plays an important, if informal, role. For instance, we organized our May 18 Capitol Hill event regarding rural infrastructure in conjunction with Infrastructure Week – an initiative meant to spur action on addressing America’s future infrastructure needs.
Another important coalition for AEM is the Fuels America coalition. We have joined this group as a member of its steering committee for the last two years to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) against attacks by other coalitions who wish to do away with this important program, which supports farm income and manufacturing jobs.
We have also enjoyed successful work with the Exporters for Ex-Im coalition to defend the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which plays an important role in helping manufacturers’ ability to sell products around the world. We have also worked to support other pending trade agreements, and expect to work with industry allies in the months to come to convey the importance of global trade to the equipment manufacturing industry.
In short, these groups -- and many others with which AEM is involved -- play an important role in helping to advance the interests of our member companies. When the private sector works together, public officials can better understand the importance of the issues that affect equipment manufacturers across the country.