Honoring Chuck Bunch, Senator Ben Nelson

Several hundred business executives, representatives, supporters and well-wishers gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center last night to pay tribute to Charles E. “Chuck” Bunch, chairman of PPG Industries who also chairs the NAM’s board of directors, and Sen. Ben Nelson, D-NE, for their support for free market principles and policies that allow Americans to prosper amid well-protected liberties.

The two were this year’s recipients of the 2007 Adam Smith Awards presented by BIPAC, the independent, bipartisan group that serves as the political action arm of American business and industry. From the news release announcing the awards:

The award is presented annually to one elected official and one business leader whose actions and attitudes exemplify the spirit of free enterprise as espoused by Adam Smith, a philosopher and professor often credited with establishing the concept of free enterprise capitalism.

‘Senator Nelson is a worthy successor to Adam Smith’s ideals of free commerce, low taxation and the use of individual talent,’ said Todd Flemming, FOAS chairman and CEO of Infrasafe. ‘He has built his public service career around bipartisan cooperation and maintains a strong record on business, trade, education, the military, healthcare and technology.’

Since arriving on Capitol Hill, Nelson has worked to forge compromises between the Bush Administration and U.S. Senate on tax cuts, Medicare reform and Homeland Security. Nelson’s Prosperity Project voting record – based on BIPAC’s Outline for Prosperity – was 73% in the first session of the 109th Congress and 63% in the second session.

‘PPG’s corporate tradition is rooted in principles of leadership and integrity, respect for the individual and doing what’s right for the long term,’ said Flemming. ‘The man at its helm, Charles Bunch personifies that tradition.’

Our own NAM President John Engler introduced Chuck Bunch, and former Congressman Charles Stenholm, D-TX — a previous recipient of the award — introduced Senator Nelson.

Nelson’s remarks in favor of expanded trade, low taxes and bipartisanship to accomplish good for the American people were especially well received.