By Dennis Slater, AEM President

Your vote matters. If you need evidence, just look at the results of the 2016 election.

Four years ago, President Trump won several states where our industry has a heavy footprint, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, by a combined 77,800 votes. Equipment manufacturers support 402,200 jobs in these three states alone. Had just one out of five equipment manufacturing voters chosen the opposing candidate, it could have changed the entire outcome of the previous presidential election.  

Voting during election season is an opportunity for our industry to ensure policies that impact our industry gain and maintain support from one cycle to the next. A strong democracy relies on its citizens to do their civic duty and take part in the election process. And with equipment manufacturers responsible for one out of every eight manufacturing jobs in the United States, our industry has a responsibility to help our people make their voice heard and shape the outcome on Election Day.

However, with just a dozen days left before Nov. 3, time is running out to make a difference this election year.  

Throughout 2020 AEM has actively worked to ensure our industry is heard on the platforms and policies that impact us. It started with co-sponsoring the first-ever presidential infrastructure forum with several democratic presidential candidates, including the eventual nominee Joe Biden, and continued in March with the release of a new economic impact report highlighting the industry’s annual economic contribution from jobs to tax revenue generated, and more across all 50 states, culminating in AEM’s first “Pledge to Equipment Manufacturers,” which asks Republican and Democratic candidates to publicly express their support for the policies that keep the industry strong. This new initiative has already resulted in over 30 candidates taking the pledge, with more to come.

Today, I’m asking all members of our industry to engage in this year's election and participate in Equipped to Vote, AEM’s first-ever get-out-the-vote campaign. The campaign has made it easy, and even fun, for anyone who supports the equipment manufacturing industry to learn about important polices and how getting involved can make a difference this election year. More than 2,800 people have joined us to vote for pro-manufacturing candidates. And thousands more have taken action on social media asking others to join them. What makes it fun? Each action earns supporters points that count as entries for weekly giveaways. By the end of the campaign, more than a dozen participants will have won prizes from power tools to a new fire pit to a trip to the National Parks or Disney World.

That’s why if you haven’t done so already, I’m asking you to make your voice heard this year.

Because it matters. It matters to me and the 2.8 million men and women working in our industry. We still have time to elect candidates who will support pro-manufacturing policies once in office. From comprehensive infrastructure investment in our roads, rails, highways, bridges, and policies that support our industry’s access to foreign markets, policy matters.

For example, both the enactment of tax reform in 2017, which replaced an outdated system with a more competitive tax code, and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which provides manufacturers with the certainty they need to secure the 2.8 million American equipment manufacturing jobs that depend on North American trade, significantly benefited the immediate and long-term outlook of our industry.

However, despite candidates’ promises over the years, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Your vote can help make sure we elect officials who will follow through with championing pro-manufacturing policies across the board – eliminating tariffs imposed on manufacturing inputs and opening up more markets to trade, modernizing and rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, and supporting our nation’s farmers and ranchers.

Our industry is counting on you. Together, with your help, we can make sure the candidates who support the pro-manufacturing policies that matter to all of us are elected. Together, we can keep our industry strong.

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