How do you want to be represented in your state capitol?

By Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs

The November elections are right around the corner. By now you’ve probably been inundated with political advertisements from candidates promising to fix the government, create jobs, and make your community better. And, like me, you’re probably a little exhausted by all of it.

But elections are important and they have consequences – good and bad. There tends to be a lot of focus on federal races. But given how little Congress has been able to accomplish in recent years, you might be more directly affected by the people who represent you in your state capitol.

Politicians are never more available and responsive than on the campaign trail. They attend candidate forums, knock on doors, make phone calls, and are out in the community talking to potential voters. So if you get the chance, introduce yourself and talk about issues that interest you and then vote accordingly.

And be sure to talk trucking. Here are examples of why that’s important:

Ohio recently enacted a law to authorize the state to finance the reconstruction of the Brent Spence Bridge through tolls. However, Kentucky needs to enact a similar law before the project can move forward. So if you’re a Kentucky voter, ask those vying to represent you in Frankfort how they feel about tolls.

Several states still do not have anti-indemnification statutes (Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont), which means that shippers are not held liable for loss or damage resulting from their negligence. Is your prospective state legislator aware of this issue?

In Missouri, there will likely be a continued push to end left-lane restrictions for trucks on certain stretches of interstates. How would your candidate vote?

Your vote also affects your fellow truckers. A Brent Spence Bridge toll would apply to all truckers that use the facility, anti-indemnification statutes protect all truckers operating in states with laws on the books, and lane restrictions on Missouri interstates affect all travelers in the state.

So help yourself, your fellow truckers, and OOIDA more effectively represent you by voting for candidates who will actually use a little bit of common sense during their stay in your state capitol. LL