We have a group of business leaders in our nation’s capital today spending some time with our Indiana Congressional delegation. Annually, we make the trek to Washington, DC for the purpose of discussing key business issues with our representatives.
Our delegation has always been very accommodating with their schedules, despite the many demands on their time. Yesterday and today we were able to connect with Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Senator Joe Donnelly, and Senator Dan Coats. Given the regional nature of our economy, we also connected with Michigan Representative Fred Upton.
This year our conversation included key discussions on issues like transportation funding, immigration, trade, drugs, healthcare, overtime regulations and minimum wage.
Washington is a great City, our group is amazed each time we go by the history and beauty of the City. To walk the streets and visit the places many of our great leaders through history walked is inspiring. We learn something new each time, and each time are moved by the great monuments that pay tribute to the many men and women that have made great sacrifices on our behalf.
I’m afraid the mention of Washington, DC these days elicits negative thoughts. Especially during an election season where the airwaves are dominated by name-calling and finger pointing by incumbents and candidates alike trying to paint their opponent as a less desirable choice. Most of us aren’t sure just who or what to believe.
This year we took our smallest group to date, some of our business leaders wonder if the annual trip is still worth it. Especially in an election year where a lot could change. Do they listen? What do we accomplish? Does my legislator have enough influence to move key legislation? Where is the sense of urgency? Gridlock means legislation moves slow and complicated issues take a long time to address.
I’m one that thinks there still is value in visiting Washington. Our representatives must hear first-hand from business people in the district how their policies impact our business. Real stories about real people taking risks matter and those real stories help influence future policy discussions.
It’s pretty interesting being here just after the first Presidential debate. The community is a buzz about the two presidential candidates and their Monday evening exchanges. The people we have met are wishing they could hit the fast forward button and fast forward forty days ahead to that November election. Most are ready to put the election rhetoric behind them and get back to the business of running the country.
Our trip really helped us understand how important it is for our elected officials need to hear from their constituents about the things that are important right here in our area. There are many avenues to do just that that don’t include a trip to Washington. Each offer local or regional offices and staffers in our region. Each routinely make themselves available at various community activities. Email, social media, and phone calls also are great options. Never before has it been as easy to connect as it is today.
I’m proud of the good work Senator Coats, Senator Donnelly, Representative Walorski and Representative Upton are doing on behalf of our region and we should all appreciate how accessible each is to hear our interests our concerns.