By Heidi Brock, President and CEO, The Aluminum Association
It’s impossible to turn on the news without hearing about some new twist or turn in the presidential election, and sometimes this campaign feels like the longest in memory—or in history. I find the political conversation this cycle is either starkly “off the table” or “everywhere”—whether at a summer BBQ (is your family united behind the same candidate?) or traveling overseas (where every taxi ride includes a conversation about U.S. presidential politics). Many of us wonder, will it ever end—let alone, how will it end?
Well, yes, it will end. In less than four months, which will go fast, voters will head to the polls, elections will be determined, and a new president will be sworn into office. So a key question is, will we end up with leaders committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing?
With so much of the news coverage focusing on the reality TV dimension of this campaign season, it can be easy to overlook what’s really at stake: jobs, opportunity, paychecks and our communities. Will we remove the barriers standing in the way of manufacturers, or will we empower our sector to reach its full potential? Our entire country benefits from a thriving manufacturing sector and importantly benefits the more than 12 million men and women who make things in America. And another great thing—supporting manufacturing is a way to unite our country. It is something that both parties can be “for” and achieve together.
Manufacturers’ policy priorities are clear. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) spelled them out early this year in a pro-growth policy agenda, titled “Competing to Win.”
The agenda includes a range of policy solutions: comprehensive tax and regulatory reform to ease the onerous burdens on businesses, serious investment in our ailing infrastructure and expanded opportunities for manufacturers to sell their products to customers overseas, while ensuring robust enforcement of trade policies, to name a few.
The bottom line is this: policymakers in Washington shouldn’t be distracted by silly partisan fights. They need to articulate a policy agenda that grows manufacturing in our country. And when manufacturers head to the polls, we must make sure we know where candidates stand on these important issues. So, let’s be sure that in this election season, we have done all we can to raise the profile of the manufacturing sector. Let’s be sure in this election season we get out the vote for manufacturing.
To spotlight these issues, members of the Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) are launching a Shopfloor blog series called “CMA Insights.” Over the coming months, you’ll hear from manufacturers from across the sector on what issues matter to us and what we expect from our leaders.
As chairman of the CMA, I am focused on ensuring that we not only strengthen the CMA but that our concerns and priorities are heard loud and clear by lawmakers. Cable news may not always cover the real issues, but “CMA Insights” certainly will! And remember, a great way to unite our country is to vote manufacturing.
Don’t miss NAM Senior Vice President of Communications Erin Streeter’s interview with Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock live on periscope at the CMA Summer Leadership Conference. Tune in on August 11 at 1:00 p.m. to hear more on why manufacturers must join together to share their stories.
Heidi Biggs Brock joined The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Va., as president in October 2011 and became CEO in October 2013. The association’s 104 members represent a significant majority of the primary U.S. aluminum producers, secondary producers and semifabricated product producers, as well as industry suppliers and distributors. Member companies operate approximately 180 plants in North America, with many conducting business worldwide. Brock is chair of the NAM’s CMA. The CMA, made up of nearly 260 industry-specific manufacturing associations, is a vital component of the NAM, providing resources and networks to members to broaden the reach of the NAM’s advocacy efforts.