On November 3, just a few short weeks away, American voters once again will be casting their ballot for national, state, and local political leadership. The 2020 election is being framed as “historic” and “game-changing.” But, elections always are. Long-time incumbents are thrown out; new, energetic underdogs are sworn in. New ideas are debated, legislation is proposed. And, sometimes, it moves forward.
Although the approach and tactics of dealing with major policy issues may change, the issues themselves, for the most part, remain consistent: jobs, international relations, taxes, education, and infrastructure. Regardless of which party is in power, the same concerns must be addressed.
This actually may be an election year that lives up to the hype. The year has been marked by the overwhelming COVID-19 health crisis, severe declines in economic activity, and increasing calls for social justice. The 24/7 news cycle overwhelms us with so many opinions and facts at such a rapid pace, it is difficult to keep up. For those 15 to 20 percent that are undecided, the overwhelming and conflicting chatter doesn’t make deciding any easier.
However, decisions will be made, and votes will be cast. A president, U.S. Senators, Representatives of the U.S. House, and state and local officials will be elected, and sworn into office. The challenges of 2020 will almost certainly roll into 2021, and new opportunities and difficulties will arise.
The first message the Hardwood Federation offers regarding the election is to vote. Regardless of how you check the ballot, it is a right and a privilege to do so. Encourage your family, friends, and employees to do the same.
Our second message is that the Hardwood Federation will continue to pursue federal legislation and policies that support the hardwood industry no matter who sits in the Oval Office or which party (or parties) control the gavels of Congress.
The Hardwood Federation’s mission is to advocate for an economically healthy and sustainable American hardwood community and to influence federal policy to:
• Support policies that maintain a healthy economic environment for the hardwood community, including family businesses and small companies
• Advance policies that improve business conditions for members of the hardwood industry
• Maintain a fair and level playing field in the global market
• Ensure healthy and economically productive public and private hardwood forests through effective legislation and practice
This has been our charge since the Hardwood Federation was created more than 15 years ago and it will remain true in the foreseeable future.
Regardless of the final makeup of Congress, there will be work for us to do. The last few years have been difficult for many in the industry with the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute and the rise of the COVID-19 crisis. Now more than ever, it is important that the industry maintains a presence in our nation’s capital. During the past several years, we have successfully raised the level of awareness policymakers have about our industry. Now is not the time to let up and once again allow those against the use of hardwood products to define us at the highest levels of government.
Our focus has been on ensuring a fair international playing field, government-designated carbon neutrality of biomass, acceptance of hardwoods as a green building material, advocating that hardwoods are a sustainable building product, reforming federal forest management, passing efficient transportation regulations that support the industry, and formalizing small business tax policy that allows growth and expansion. These priorities will continue in 2021, as will work on efforts to recover from COVID-19’s devastating impact on our economy, both national and global.
Thank you to the 27 association members of the Hardwood Federation, which includes the NWFA, corporate funders, and our industry supporters that have been instrumental in keeping our doors open in a difficult year. It is our hope and goal that 2021 is a more successful and protable year for all. We will continue to work hard for you. And, remember to vote!