Editor’s Note: The following is a release from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) introducing a joint election update that details how the associations are “working together to protect our member companies and consumers.”
The elections are over and the political landscape has changed, but many issues important to the RV industry remain in play in Washington, D.C., including:
• Expanding credit opportunities for RV purchases
• CAFE standards that protect the availability of tow vehicles
• Protecting the second home mortgage interest deduction for RVs
• The Travel Promotion Act to boost tourism
• The Employee Free Choice Act which will impact unionizing efforts
RVIA and RVDA will be working with our industry allies on these and other issues as we move forward. Democratic majorities in both the House the Senate and the new administration will provide challenges as well as opportunities. Democrats did not obtain the 60-vote majority they sought in the Senate.
While the national associations work together in Washington, it is more important than ever that you – as an individual – reach out to your elected representative and let them know what you want . . . and how their actions will impact your livelihood.
Both RVDA President Mike Molino and RVIA President Richard Coon serve on the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) Board of Directors, and ARC is an effective voice for the RV industry and outdoor recreation in Washington. ARC President Derrick Crandall provides this overall perspective on the election outcome and what’s ahead in the coming months:
“The outcome was consistent with political tradition. Checkbook issues are the primary factor in presidential elections. And an unhappy electorate is a huge obstacle for the party in control of the White House.
It is football season, so a football analogy is appropriate. It is amazing that the defending champions, playing on a field against the wind and with the sun in their eyes, led by an aging quarterback with very little depth, an old playbook and no cheerleaders, even stayed in the game.
President-elect Obama is youthful, energetic and a talented communicator. For an electorate ready to support changes, he was simply more credible on reform than a veteran of more than three decades in the Congress who is out of touch with the way Americans under 40 communicate and learn.
So where does that put recreation, and the recreation industry? Surprisingly well off. If the Obama presidency will be about change and American jobs, a $500 billion industry with large numbers of genuine American manufacturing jobs, lots of young employees and a real potential for helping to produce a happier, healthier and more educated America can be a “go-to” force.
Our challenge will be to articulate popular new programs and policies that can achieve visible results quickly.”
In addition to working on issues, we will be keeping an eye on the people who make up the new administration and identifying friends of outdoor recreation who can help the RV industry. Derrick Crandall tells us:
“We know many of the Obama Transition Team members, under the leadership of John Podesta, former Chief of Staff in the Clinton White House. Other big players are Cassandra Butts (Harvard Law classmate), Tom Daschle and Rahm Emanuel (former Clinton White House official and now U.S. Representative from Illinois).
As far as the next Secretary of the Interior, we are beginning to hear names – but it is still very early.” Crandall said among those to watch:
• Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, is a farmer and rancher who held no elected office prior to being elected as the first Democratic Governor to serve Montana in 20 years.
• U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), a major player on roadless areas in national forests and active on energy policy matters and the global climate change debate.
• Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Jr., elected in 2006 and focused on a more sustainable national energy portfolio, business development, and building a New Energy Economy for Colorado and the nation’s future.
• Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, elected in 2002 and very popular in a traditionally Republican state.
• And a wild card – U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA).