By Penny Brown, Director, AMT Marketing & Communications
Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that this election season has been very contentious indeed. Fortunately, no matter where you stand on the issues, manufacturing is an area where we can all find agreement.
It’s hard for anyone to argue with the importance of manufacturing. It’s great for the economy, having one of the top multiplier effects of any industry. It is among the biggest contributors to R&D and advanced technology research. It supports good-paying jobs that provide opportunities for growth. A strong manufacturing industry is vital to our country’s global competitiveness.
Of course, you know all of this already. So what’s the big deal? To me, it’s this: As manufacturers, it’s important that we show up at the polls, no matter how much distaste there is around the candidates at the top of the ticket. To that end, I encourage you to check out a new initiative from the National Association of Manufacturers called Friends of Manufacturing (friendsofmanufacturing.com).
Friends of Manufacturing encourages attention on the issues that are challenges for the industry. That includes our high corporate tax rate, barriers to free trade, and government regulations that create excessive burdens. All of these factors make it difficult for the United States to stay globally competitive. You can sign up on the website to receive regular campaign updates and calls to action.
The biggest risk we face is not allowing our voices to be heard. With the presidential election taking up so much of the news cycle, it’s easy to forget that our November ballots will also be filled with many other important federal, state and local elections. Those races are also impactful, not only for business but for the community at large.
This is where it becomes important for you, the voter, to educate yourself and go to the polls ready to make informed choices. Prior to the elections, you will be able to obtain a sample ballot that lists all the candidates and issues. Spend some time with it. Look up the candidates’ websites. Nonpartisan groups like the League of Women Voters often create voter guides that can be useful resources.
The exasperation that voters feel isn’t likely to go away, but we still have a civic obligation to vote. Don’t let your frustration translate into silence. There are an estimated 12 million manufacturing voters in the United States. Will you be one of them?