Engaged Electorate is Key to Pro-jobs Environment

September 11, 2020 | Breaking the manufacturing ceiling JD Davis, Vice President, Public Policy, ABI, jddavis@iowaabi.org

This edition of Business Record Iowa comes on the heels of the ABI Board of Directors meeting on September 10. The meeting was the first for new board members, but the last step in the ABI policy development process. The board has the responsibility to approve the 2021 policy positions and priorities for the association. This year, when you include all board and public policy committee members, more than 300 people participated at some stage in the process. This number reflects strong member participation and includes a cross-section of members from every industry.

Each public policy committee and the full board of directors considered policy positions through the reality of the presence of COVID-19. The core issues ABI has pursued from legislative session to legislative session remain, but the emphasis may change. For example, child care was a key issue leading up to the 2020 session as ABI sought solutions that would allow more people to enter the workforce with unemployment below 3%. Entering the 2021 session—as new and seasoned employees navigate school re-openings, staggered schedules and daycares operating at reduced capacities—childcare solutions are more critical than ever to improving workforce participation. This is one example, but across the board COVID-19 has altered the public policy space. As in the past, ABI member companies and ABI staff will educate and advocate to ensure legislative and regulatory proposals are pro-jobs and provide certainty and stability for employers and employees.

One key piece to a pro-jobs environment is an engaged electorate. Although Iowa has some of the highest rates of voter participation in the country, we can do even better. To vote, you need to be registered. This year, as in past years, ABI is participating in Employee Voter Registration Week occurring September 21-25. The goal is to increase the number of registered eligible private sector voters across the country. The initiative does not tell employees how to vote or who to vote for; instead it provides information to help employers encourage voter registration. In a 2018 BIPAC survey, 96% of employee respondents from a company with a sustained engagement program voted early or on Election Day.

I hope you will encourage your employees to get registered to vote or update their voter registration the week of September 21-25. If you don’t have something planned, it’s not too late. You can find all kinds of information online at www.employeesvote.com. Please contact me if you want to learn more. With more employers participating, we can ensure more individuals are voting in the elections, whether it’s for school board or U.S. President!