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The 2014 elections are over. What’s next?

By Ned Monroe, National Association of Manufacturers

In November, Americans sent a powerful message to Washington from the polls: the status quo is not working anymore. Voters believe there is too much over-regulation and uncertainty from our federal government. They know that manufacturers in the United States won’t take the risks necessary to grow and create more jobs if they aren’t confident in our nation’s long-term economic plans. From onerous energy regulations to expiring tax credits that encourage investment in new technologies and worker training to the threat of shutting down the Export-Import Bank, manufacturers agreed upon the need for change. They believe that for far too long, the government has impeded growth, not advocated for it.

Manufacturers small and large played a significant role in last year’s midterm elections. They engaged with their employees and educated them on the kinds of policies we need from our government to thrive and put more Americans back to work. Manufacturing voters, especially those working at smaller organizations, came out in droves to cast their ballots for candidates who supported common-sense solutions to growing our economy.

The results speak for themselves: voters elected pro-business candidates in large numbers in both chambers of Congress. In the Senate, the change in leadership should help ensure a more business-friendly Congress.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) helped play a role in the elections. Beginning earlier this year, the NAM crisscrossed the nation to help educate voters, manufacturers and workers on what will get us back on track. We and AIM asked our membership to play a leading role in their government and to educate candidates on our pro-growth legislative policy. Our members received that message loud and clear.

However, although we have old and new members of Congress coming to Washington to fulfill the promises they made on the campaign trail, now is not the time to sit back and relax. We must maintain our advocacy efforts and continue fighting for manufacturing-friendly policies that will allow us to meet the challenges of doing business in the 21st century economy. All manufacturers must continue to educate elected officials on solutions to grow jobs.

That means we need to keep fighting for comprehensive tax reform so manufacturers in America can compete on an even playing field. That means real regulatory reform so that manufacturers aren’t bogged down in ever-increasing avalanches of unfair rules and red tape. Federal regulations need to be transparent and can’t be controlled by special interest groups. It also means having a real “all of the above” national energy policy, which maximizes the potential of our vast energy reserves while developing the technologies that will help power our future. Most importantly, it means creating an environment where manufacturers can succeed, grow their businesses and keep creating new, good-paying jobs for American workers.

There’s still a lot of work left to do. With your help, manufacturers elected more business-friendly leaders. Now, it’s up to all of us to make sure the promises made on the campaign trail come to fruition, not die in Congressional committees or due to gridlock. Now that a new Congress has been sworn in, all manufacturers must continue to promote our pro-growth, pro-manufacturing message. Now the real work of passing legislation begins, and your help in this effort is critical.

If you want to help promote these policies, contact Ray McCarty at Associated Industries of Missouri (rmccarty@aimo.com). With your help, we can make a difference … and help grow the manufacturing economy.

Ned Monroe is the senior vice president of external relations for the National Association of Manufacturers. He can be reached at Nmonroe@nam.org or via twitter @NedMonroeVA.

Associated Industries of Missouri is the official state partner of the National Association of Manufacturers in Missouri.

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