OTA Dispatch Issue 1, 2022

6 Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc. Oregon Truck Dispatch Mark Gibson, Chair OTA in Action Committee/ President, Siskiyou Transportation HERE WE ARE, amazingly enough going into another year of COVID and in the midst of a short legislative session with legislative hearings still Zoom only. Last year’s session was a tough one, as they all seem to be anymore, with a seemingly limitless supply of legislation and regulation with potentially large financial impacts. This all feels far worse in a labor strapped environment with historic supply chain challenges. With such challenges in front of us, many may be inclined to simply focus on our immediate concerns and let “someone else” handle the big picture items. OTA’s advocacy team consistently jumps into the fray on our behalf, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us don’t play a role in furthering our industry’s interests. These demanding times make grassroots involvement even more important than ever. The struggle with increasing our grassroots efforts circles back to the same root problem…our own internal labor shortage and those of us still in the day-to-day management are having to do more with less. I get that. While I work for OTA on a part-time basis, involved in both mobility concerns as well as legislative actions, I still run two businesses, both of which have a trucking component. I understand the struggle of managing your business and still finding time for advocacy. I also know that many of you involved in advocacy are not owners, but are still willing to take the time, with your company’s support, to be engaged. I know we say quite frequently that “now is the time to become involved, we need you more than ever.” The problem is it is always true. Things on the regulatory and legislative side never get easier. Year after year they only get more complicated, more what I would phrase “anti-business,” and they seem to multiply like rabbits. Back in the day, we could make a battle plan around the legislative sessions, noting which legislators to work with and preparing testimony and comments. Now, we don’t hear the murmurs and rumors around the capitol building. We no longer have the luxury to build in-person relationships and engage with others throughout the session—at least for now. Plus, what can’t get done in the legislature now creeps into the realm of executive orders and rulemaking. Our site of battle has changed, and our tactics must, as well. This year’s short session will move rapidly and will likely be close to concluding by the time you read this article. We still have plenty of work at its conclusion in preparation for the upcoming session in 2023. It could be an exciting time. We will have a new governor and, hopefully, a new look and feel in the state legislature. So now is a good time to hone our advocacy skills and saturate the always-in-session committees and workgroups with industry members. We need trucking company representatives to be involved in the OTA in Action Committee. We still have Area Commissions on Transportation (ACTs) throughout the state that lack trucking representation. We need key contacts with every legislature in the state. We have members in every district so we know this can be done. You don’t necessarily need to be on the same political side as your representatives, however, it is important to at least have some sort of relationship, perhaps even just attending town halls or public events. Be a face and a voice for our industry. And the task goes beyond legislators. We need involvement with local government and ACTs, as I mentioned. We at OTA work tirelessly to help monitor everything that relates to trucking in this OTA in Action “Now is the time to become involved, we need you more than ever.”