On September 19 & 20, GMLC President Kristie Stern, along with members of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and executives representing various OEMs, will converge in Washington, D.C. for a critical mission: to champion policies that bolster the equipment manufacturing sector. Leading this effort is AEM’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, Kate Fox Wood, who assumes a leadership role within the organization’s advocacy team and plays a pivotal role in coordinating the “fly-in” event.

During an engaging podcast-style conversation (see video below) hosted by GMLC, Kristie engaged in a comprehensive dialogue with Kate, covering the fly-in and a spectrum of pressing issues centered around the nation’s capital that hold significant relevance to the industry. Topics of conversation included AEM’s strategic approach to the fly-in, the Farm Bill, Precision Ag Technology, the FAA Bill, Tax Provisions, Immigration, AEM’s commitment to bipartisan engagement, and effective strategies for amplifying one’s voice on these matters.

Fly-in participants will break into groups with about 80 meetings spread between them, each lasting approximately 30 minutes. Fox Wood emphasizes, “You have to be very precise and very focused on what you’re talking to your lawmaker about.” She continues, “You’ve got to get in there and give them high-level asks. What you need. What the industry needs.”

Fox Wood places the reauthorization of the Farm Bill at the forefront of their priorities, saying, “The policies in that bill do really important things for the agricultural economy. Namely, they provide crop insurance and risk management programs for farmers. That’s really important for farmers to continue to survive and export products. That’s also really important for the ag equipment industry.” She also notes that the Farm Bill is currently set to expire on September 30 and adds, “If the bill does not get reauthorized by the 30th, a continuing resolution will likely get passed with the likelihood of it getting tackled in Q1 of 2024.”

According to Fox Wood, ensuring the passage of the FAA bill is vital for the continued smooth operation of our airports, with a specific focus on its impact on airport infrastructure and equipment-related matters. In her words, “Construction of runways, bibs, parking garages, passenger drop-off zones, and all those things that use equipment” are reliant on the FAA bill’s provisions.

Fox Wood notes that, like the Farm Bill, the FAA bill is also set to expire on the 30th. However, there is optimism that this bill may progress more swiftly than the Farm Bill. She adds, “The House has already passed their version. In the Senate, there are some hiccups as it relates to pilot training, pilot hours, and pilot age retirement.” Importantly, she clarifies that these specific aviation-related concerns are not within AEM’s purview, but they do bear implications for the bill’s successful passage.

The conversation further continued with Kate expressing the anticipated challenges in securing certain tax provisions. She affirms, “We’re going to tell them how important tax policy is to equipment manufacturers when we get up there on the 20th.” Regarding the matter of bipartisanship, Fox Woods emphasizes, “We are not necessarily permitted to endorse any legislation that doesn’t have a Republican and a Democrat leading the charge on it.” She underscores the significance of actively participating in the political process, regardless of one’s affiliation with a particular side of the political spectrum, stressing the importance of making one’s voice heard.

We look forward to sharing Kristie’s experience at the fly-in. Look out for it on our website, social media feeds, and in the September edition of our monthly newsletter.

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