Bush victory "tremendous news" for US marine industry
By IBI Magazine/Michael Verdon
NMMA officials today reacted with palpable relief and barely-concealed glee to the news that George W. Bush had been re-elected to the US presidency.
"It's great news, tremendous news for the marine industry," said Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president of government relations, in Washington, DC. "This administration has always provided us with great access to the White House and various government agencies. They have always helped us out where they could."
Fontaine said that the change to a Kerry administration would have meant an entirely new set of agency officials. "It takes about a year for people to figure out what their jobs are and everything comes to a standstill," Fontaine said. "Now, we have continuity. Every agency knows our fundamental concerns, and we're working with an educated group of people who know what will be good for us to grow boating."
Fontaine said that despite his reputation, Bush "loves" the outdoors. "He wants to protect the environment but keep it in balance with protecting jobs," she said. "Plus, the administration is known to be pro-free trade, pro-tort reform, and pro-tax cuts--all those things that impact the bottom line of business people in the boating industry."
NMMA president Thom Dammrich agreed that the Bush election would "generally help manufacturing," and said that the five-seat gain for Republicans in the US Senate could also be a boon. The Republicans maintain majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Bernadette Budde, vice president of Bi-Pac, a pro-business lobbying group, said that the addition of five Republican senators should result in a shift towards pro-manufacturing legislation. "Until now, manufacturing has been held hostage by an unfriendly Senate," she said. "There should be no excuses for that in the 109th Congress."
Fontaine said that NMMA had provided Political Action Committee (PAC) contributions to Republican candidates who were elected to the Senate from key coastal states. "Three newly elected senators from North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana have signed letters saying they'll support the boating industry," she said. "We've educated them on issues even before they get into a position of power. They're all pro-business and from boating-heavy states, and will be tremendous allies."
Fontaine said that NMMA was also involved in Bi-Pac's "Prosperity Project" which prompted manufacturing executives to talk to employees about the economic impacts on manufacturing of various Congressional candidates. Bi-Pac encouraged employers to tell their workers to vote "pro-business for job security."
"A lot of this work goes unnoticed," said Fontaine. "But we now have good people, continuity and forward momentum. Our industry has a beautiful reputation with the Administration and Congress, so that should work to our advantage in the next few years."
(3 November 2004)