One would be remiss in discussing the future of the House of Representatives without mentioning the retirement of California political mogul Henry Waxman. As the lead Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel with jurisdiction over the bulk of our most important legislative efforts, Waxman has had significant sway over the issues that count. A new face at the helm of this important committee could significantly alter the future of our endeavors.
While control of the House of Representatives is not likely to change, the leadership of the Senate is very much up for grabs. Approximately one third of the body is up for re-election this year with Democrats defending 21 seats and Republicans defending 15. Nearly all of the Republican seats are safe, either with incumbents well-placed for re-election or retirements in states with significant Republican electoral traditions.
On the other hand, many Democratic seats are in jeopardy. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, two of the more conservative Democratic senators, are facing very difficult re-elections this year. While the south was once the bread and butter of the Democratic Party, the region is now almost completely red at the federal level. Republicans are aching for an opportunity to flip the lone Democratic hold-outs in the region. The same goes inNorth Carolina, where Democrat Kay Hagan is polling behind popular North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.
West Virginia and South Dakota are two other states currently in the blue column that are trending Republican in advance of the elections this fall. Added to this is a vulnerable incumbent in otherwise severely Republican Alaska and a surprisingly competitive race in Michigan to replace retiring Democrat Carl Levin. One key industry ally, Lindsey Graham, is facing a battle in South Carolina. While his seat is all but guaranteed to stay Republican, he is facing a potentially tough primary election. As one of our key supporters, his campaign is an industry focal point.
ACMA is proud to take an active role in this year’s elections. Our Political Action Committee, ACMA-PAC, is dedicated to electing pro-business and pro-composites candidates. Contributions from many ACMA member company executives allow ACMA-PAC to help shape the outcome in congressional races across the country. Everyone in the composites industry is encouraged to learn more about ACMA-PAC, as electoral outcomes can dramatically impact the business climate.
If you’ve never gotten involved in an election before, consider doing it this year. Voting is essential, but active involvement in the political process can build deep relationships that matter in your community and on Capitol Hill. Invite candidates to tour your plant and speak with your employees. Ask questions at candidate debates about important issues for your business. Volunteer on the campaign of your favorite candidate. All of these are opportunities to highlight the critical contributions you make to your community every day.
ACMA is your resource for political engagement. For ACMA’s regular updates about the status of the elections and for more information about ACMA-PAC, visit acmanet.org/pac.
This year we’re in it to win it. Are you?