U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind.,  has pledged to continue his fight for the RV industry.

“During tough times like these, workers at Indiana’s RV factories, supplier plants and dealerships are counting on their leaders to make Washington work for them, not the other way around,” Bayh said in a statement this week. “There is more work to do, and I pledge to continue my efforts on Capitol Hill to protect local jobs as we work together to get more RVs on the road again.”

Bayh was one of three recipients of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) National Legislative Award for his ongoing advocacy on behalf of the RV industry, particularly with regard to stimulus legislation and Small Business Administration rule changes that now allow RV dealers greater accessibility to federally guaranteed floorplan loans. The award was given during RVIA’s Advocacy Day activities in Washington, D.C., last week.

In his statement, Bayh added, “Hoosiers should be proud of our heritage as a great manufacturing state. We make things, and we make them well. Few industries in Indiana have endured greater hardship in recent months than the one that makes our family camping vehicles. Elkhart County is the recreational vehicle capital of America. Since the recession began, more than half of the RV industry’s workers have been laid off. Thousands of Hoosiers have lost their jobs.

“When dealerships can’t obtain financing to purchase new stock for their showroom floors, it creates a harmful ripple effect across the industry. In April, I asked the new head of the Small Business Administration to expand a lending program to help RV dealers get access to credit. Less than two months later, the SBA delivered. I was pleased to stand with senior White House officials in Kokomo last month to announce a new national program to help RV and auto dealers finance new inventory purchases. I was also pleased to author and pass a new tax break to spur RV purchases, saving middle-class families up to $1,100 on a new vehicle. Both steps should help Hoosier workers, as well as the families and communities that depend on them.”