July 2015

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Page 23 of 59

>> REGIONAL REPORT PHIL RIGGS I t was just before 5 a.m. on a urs- day when I casually strolled out of my apartment to make the trip out to beautiful Spokane, Wash.. A plane full of crying babies and an unavoid- able layover in Denver wasn't the only reason I was anxious to arrive, and certainly wasn't about to keep me from accomplishing what I had set out to do. is was the day that that several of Washington's equipment dealers would come together on common issues, issues which transcend product lines and dealer competitiveness, and issues only Congress can act on. A conversa- tion with Clyde/West's Pat McConnell at Summit sparked the trip, and the ability of everyone to come together created a voice that could be heard from Spokane to Seattle. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairman of the House Republican Conference and currently the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress, appeared to be no stranger to the world of construction as she effort- lessly chatted with everyone who was able to attend the congressional visit at Clyde/West on that late aernoon. It was clear that she understood the issues our industry faces when it comes to a lack of a long term funding solution for the highway program, how tax incen- tives like Section 179 and Depreciation Bonus helps small businesses, both on the equipment side and contractor side, and agreed that waiting three weeks out from the new year was probably not the most ideal situation. Her most interesting comments though were about the gas tax. As a Washington state representative, McMorris Rodgers overcame opposi- tion in her own caucus to pass a gas tax increase. When asked if she would support a gas tax increase on a federal level, she explained that while she wasn't sure if it would be the right course of action, she is not completely opposed to the idea. "When I was running for my current office I wondered if my past vote to increase the gas tax in Washington would be an issue for people-it never was," she said. Geoff Rowand of Rowand Machin- ery Company explained that contrac- tors tend not to buy equipment when there is uncertainty surrounding things like a funding for construc- tion projects, leaving them with a natural tendency to rent or avoid making any significant purchases all together. "What we are really asking for from Congress is certainty. Certainty for our customers and certainty for our employees," Rowand explained. e representative's visit to Clyde/ West in Spokane was well attended by employees from Valley Equipment Company, Triad Machinery, Western States Equipment, Rowand Machinery Company and Inland Northwest AGC. e event represents a renewed focus on connecting AED members with their member of Congress, telling the story of their dealership and the people who keep it running. By coming together as an industry and doing events like this with members of Congress back in their district, we are keeping the conversation moving in the right direc- tion and giving AED members greater insights into the opinions held by their representatives and senators on issues surrounding workforce shortages, tax legislation, regulatory overreach and infrastructure funding. In a political environment where nearly half of all members of Congress have been in office less than five years, a freshman representative in Salt Lake City, Utah, Mia Love, is planning to visit with Wheeler Machinery executives for a discussion that I'm sure will include the impact that the repeal of LIFO and LKE would have on an equipment distributor's business. If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to give me or any of Out West One Thing is Clear, We Certainly Need Some Certainty From Congress Washington state dealers come together at Clyde/West to send a message to their representative. 22 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | July 2015 Washington state Rep. McMorris Rodgers overcame opposition in her own caucus to pass a gas tax increase. (continued on page 24) Pictured: Mark Swesey, Joe Jensen, John Rollins, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers ( R) Washington

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