AED and EDA Host a Jam Packed Fly In

Last week, the Equipment Dealers Association and the Associated Equipment Distributors held their 2018 Joint Legislative Fly-In.  Despite a small snow storm that shut down the Federal Government for a day, almost 100 attendees spent three days in Washington D.C. packed full of policy briefings, networking opportunities, and meetings with members of Congress.  If you were not able to attend, here is what you missed:

Tuesday afternoon, attendees met with Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher, Daniel Fisher, AED Vice President of Government Affairs, and Natalie Higgins, EDA’s Vice President of Government Relations, to talk about the ins and outs of Capitol Hill meetings.  During this session, attendees were able to learn how congressional offices operate, how to get your message through to elected officials, and how to effectively engage lawmakers during meetings.  To end the first day of the Fly-In, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos from Illinois discussed the progress that has been made to make our legislative body more bipartisan, as well as the importance of urging our members of Congress to engage in bipartisan efforts to positively impact our industry.

Our second day was full of legislative panels given by policy experts and various members of Congress.  House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer started our morning off with a warm welcome to our nation’s capital.  Hoyer is the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House, who is widely considered to be the voice of the pro-business wing of the Democratic Party.  He reiterated Bustos’ message on the importance of bipartisanism, and how much can be accomplished when both sides come together.

Following Hoyer’s remarks, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, addressed the attendees about what he hopes to accomplish during 2018 and how he foresees the midterm elections playing out.  McConnell shared that there will be very close races, for it is common two years after the presidential election that majority is lost in both the House and Senate.  McConnell also discussed key issues such as infrastructure, trade, and the newly passed tax reform bill. From McConnell’s address, we jumped into our policy panels.  Our three panels were as follows:


  • Missouri Congressman Sam Graves
  • Dean Franks, Senior Vice President, Congressional Relations of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association
  • Catie Kawchak, Director of Infrastructure, Innovation, and HR Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers
  • Robbie Boone, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs at The Farm Credit Council

Equipment Manufacturer:

  • Daryl Bouwkamp, Senior Director of International Business Development and Government Affairs, Vermeer
  • Jonathan Miller, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, The Volvo Group
  • Chris Meyers, Director of International and Federal Government Affairs, Caterpillar, Inc.
  • Steven Nadherny, Vice President of Government Affairs, CNH Industrial
  • John Rauber, Director of North American Public Affairs, Deere & Co.
  • Nick Yaksich, Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations, Association of Equipment Manufacturers

Tax and Trade

  • John Murphy, Senior Vice President for International Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Janice Mays, Managing Director, Washington National Tax Service

On Wednesday, EDA presented its Legislative Leadership Award to Missouri Congressman Jason Smith.  Congressman Smith is an advocate for tax reform, education and rural development.

Our third and final day of the Fly-In started off with an Industry Champions Breakfast.  Attendees were able to sit down with members of Congress from key committees who are advocates for the equipment industry.  They were able to talk one-on-one about the issues that affect their specific markets and costs of doing business.  Members of Congress in attendance included Rep. Mark Amodei (Nev.), Rep. Lou Barletta (Pa.), Rep. Andy Barr (Ky.), Rep. Mike Bost (IL.), Rep. Rodney Davis (IL.), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fl.), Rep. Jimmy Duncan Jr. (Ten.), Rep. John Katko (Ny.), Rep. Roger Marshall (Kan.), and Rep. Scott Tipton (Col.).

Immediately following the breakfast, attendees hit the Hill to discuss key issues with their legislators.  We were able to meet with more than 30 members of Congress to discuss our top legislative priorities, such as regulatory reform, NAFTA negotiations, rural infrastructure and broadband.  Everyone reported that the meetings were very productive and beneficial to our dealers.

If you would like a copy of our drop sheet, which contains EDA legislative priorities for the 115th Congress, or any other information pertaining to our 2018 Joint Legislative Fly-In, please contact Alexis Strieker – Director of Government Relations at