One of the Equipment Dealers Association’s (EDA) primary roles is to advocate on the behalf of our members – equipment dealers throughout the United States and Canada. Through lobbying efforts we aim to influence Federal legislation that will have a positive impact on the industry and how dealers and their customers do business. We know firsthand the critical roll our legislators have in promoting and protecting the interests of EDA’s members and we are excited to present our second Equipment Dealers Association Legislative Leadership Award. This award recognizes a lawmaker that helps create a positive business environment for equipment dealers in the United States. We are proud to announce that the 2018 recipient of the award is U.S. Congressman Jason Smith of Missouri.
Congressman Smith was presented with his award during a joint Legislative Fly-In hosted by EDA and the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED). The annual event was held in Washington, D.C. from Mach 20-22. Nearly 100 agriculture and construction equipment dealers were in attendance and worked together to bring a unified message to the Hill.
“As a fourth generation farm owner from Missouri, I am proud to be a part of the United States’ great agriculture heritage,” said Smith. “I am passionate about advancing policy to promote the growth and success of the agriculture industry across the country – from limiting the regulations that hinder farms and small business owners to reducing their tax burden, there is much we can continue to do not only support farmers, but also those who help our farmers succeed each and every day. I am honored to be recognized with this award from EDA and am dedicated to the continued success and growth of the industry.”
Smith operates a farm in Salem, Missouri and he attended the University of Missouri earning degrees in Ag Economics and Business Administration before attending law school in Oklahoma City. During his time practicing law, Smith began to recognize the harmful impact of government overreach to the U.S. economy. He wanted to run for office to ‘right the ship.’
In 2005, Smith was elected to the Missouri General Assembly in a special election. Here he fought to reduce regulations, protect property rights and increase government transparency. His efforts earned him nominations for Majority Whip and Speaker Pro Tem. Smith made his Federal debut in 2013 when he was elected to the House of Representatives. He was re-elected in 2014. Smith currently serves on the Ways and Means and Budget Committees and has made a name for himself by defending rural America.
Congressman Smith has sponsored and co-sponsored numerous bills such as:
H.R. 4175 – Invest in Innovator Small Businesses Act (Sponsor)
H.R. 3220 – Preserved Taxpayers’ Rights Act (Sponsor)
H.R. 3965 – STARS Act (re: seasonal employees) (Co-Sponsor)
H.R. 2383 – American Renewable Fuel and Job Creation Act (Co-Sponsor)
He also voted “Yes” on 2017’s landmark tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Thanks to Smith’s leadership, EDA members were exempted from a harmful “cap” on business interest. “As a result of our tax cuts legislation, farmers have more money to invest in their fields and families, and both large and small business in the U.S. are poised for growth. Additionally, more than 1,500 Obama-era regulations have been withdrawn or delayed.” Smith is also working with the chairman of the FCC to expand rural broadband across southeast and central Missouri. “Rural America is in desperate need of quality internet access. Everyone from business owners to farmers to students will benefit from improved technology. I hope to start a trend in Missouri that is echoed throughout our country.”
Smith is also an advocate for education. In 2017 he authored and introduced the Upward Mobility and Enhancement Act that will help working students afford their college tuition. “This act allows an employer to offer up to $11,500 of tax-free assistance to their employees,” says Smith. “This means students entering the workforce are able to earn money while getting a portion of their tuition covered by their employer.” This bill and Smith’s efforts fall in line with one of EDA’s most pressing agenda items, Workforce Development.
“Congressman Smith has dedicated his career to fighting for the agricultural industry,” says Alexis Strieker, Director of Government Relations for EDA. “His efforts to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made a substantial impact EDA’s members and their customers. We applaud his hard work and look forward to watching his career flourish.”
The annual EDA/AED Joint Legislative Fly-In gives representatives of the equipment industry an opportunity to connect, network and share a unified message with members of Congress. “We are privileged to present Congressman Jason Smith with the Equipment Dealers Association Legislative Leadership Award during the Fly-In,” said Kim Rominger, President and CEO of the EDA. “The purpose of this award is to recognize leaders in Washington who promote legislation that benefits our industry and advances EDA’s mission of building the best business environment for equipment dealers. Congressman Smith is the epitome of an advocate for our industry. He championed common sense tax reform and ensured that EDA members would not be negatively impacted by a “cap” on business interest. Furthermore, he has a deep understanding of agricultural needs and we thank him for his efforts to expand rural broadband and eliminate costly regulations on our dealers.”