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DECEMBER 2013 issue of
Rental Management

Get out the vote
12/06/2013

November elections hold possibilities for business owners

 

”Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they
will just have to sit on their blisters.” — Abraham Lincoln

 

While there is no presidential race to follow in 2014, many important elections are taking place across the country on Nov. 4, 2014. Voters in every state will elect U.S. representatives as well as thousands of local officials, and voters in 43 states will elect senators, governors or both. Given these numbers, going to the polls in 2014 — and encouraging others to do so as well — bears equal importance to voting during a presidential election year.

“It’s not too early to plan on making the voice of businesses heard throughout each state and the country,” says Alysia Ryan, director of state government affairs for the American Rental Association (ARA).

In total, 36 states will have governor’s races in 2014. Six of those races are for open seats, which means the remaining 30 governors are running for re-election.

Current governorships consist of 30 Republicans and 20 Democrats. Nine Republican governor seats are up in states that President Obama won in 2012. In addition, many Republican governors are now running for re-election in states that are far more moderate than they’ve governed. Control of the U.S. Senate also is in the hands of the voters as 35 states will elect senators in this election cycle. These seats are currently held by 20 Democrats and 15 Republicans.

“Both sides of the aisle will be working hard to gain the advantage,” Ryan says.

Campaign managers from both parties are studying the results of the recent gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey for clues about where they need to put their focus and energy in order to win over voters for federal elections in 2014.

“Many campaign strategies will likely be seen over the next 11 months as the 2014 elections approach. While candidates can choose to address a number of issues, with health care implementation and budget issues topping the list, two things were made clear in Virginia and New Jersey: Swing voters have a strong voice and candidates matter,” Ryan says.

“In the face of the partisan divide in Congress and the rancor between the parties, there are many Americans who still vote for individual candidates and issues, not parties. This is good news for the business community because it means that business owners have the opportunity to build consensus across party lines on the issues that impact their businesses and work with both parties to find ways to promote economic growth and expand business opportunities that can grow jobs. Good candidates with good campaigns can win in the most unlikely places. As campaigns heat up, voters will be charged with the task of bypassing partisan rhetoric to find out where each candidate on the ballot stands on issues that are pro-business,” Ryan says.

Business owners also can help their employees focus on and understand the issues that are of greatest importance to their businesses and their industry. A recent survey from the Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) revealed that 80 percent of respondents want to receive the same amount or more information from their employer about the 2014 candidates and their stand on the issues. In fact, employers are considered the most trusted source for this information.

“That makes the workplace an ideal setting for voter education,” Ryan says. “Employers have the credibility and opportunity to educate employees, so they can make informed choices and motivate them to go to the polls. As long as a business owner does not specifically endorse a candidate, there is no limit on the amount of company resources that can be invested in informing employees about the people, platforms and issues of greatest importance to businesses.”

Through its government affairs program, ARA will support member Get out the Vote (GOTV) efforts via information in print and online that can provide business owners and their staff members with information to help determine where candidates stand on pro-business issues that concern the equipment rental industry.

Throughout 2014, ARA will provide:

  • Articles in Rental Management and Rental Pulse with election details and information about voting early.
  • Targeted emails to members about their state elections, how and where to register to vote, and deadlines for voting absentee, early and in person.
  • Additional resources that can help business owners talk with their employees about the issues of greatest importance to their business and explain where candidates stand on pro-business issues.

Health care implementation continues in 2014

Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will continue to move forward throughout 2014 as several provisions and deadlines come to pass. This also will be a year of preparation for businesses as the employer mandate approaches on Jan. 1, 2015.

To help employers in the equipment rental industry sort out the details, The Rental Show 2014 will include “Healthcare Round Two: What Do the Latest Changes Mean for Your Business?” as part of the seminar schedule on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 8 a.m.

What does all of this mean for your business? How does it impact your employees? How will the new state health care exchanges work? What other insurance procurement issues do you need to be aware of? Is there political will for repeal efforts?

These issues and more will be addressed during this session that will feature a panel of association executives based Washington, D.C., who are active with the American Rental Association (ARA) and the PPACA Healthcare Coalition.

 

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