Fuel Smarts

Truckin’ Down the Campaign Trail

September 08, 2000

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North Dakota state Republican congressional candidate John Dorso, a former owner of a trucking and trailer sales business, recently concluded his "Road to Victory" truck tour. Traveling the road in his 1994 International cabover, a 1998 Wilson drop deck trailer and a renewed CDL license, Dorso spent a big chunk of the summer burning up the campaign trail across the state.
Dorso knows the trucking industry well. His father was an owner-operator until the 1950s, when he got into truck/trailer sales, a business John eventually got into in 1966. In 1984, he decided to give politics a try, and left the trucking business for good two years ago.
Dorso received a lot of support during his campaign tour and is proud to say that his home state supports the trucking industry. "Eighty-percent of North Dakota’s tonnage moves by truck," he says. "It’s fairly common around here."

As far as trucking-related issues go, Dorso is pretty straightforward. He’s not too hip on the proposed hours of service rules, he’s pro-NAFTA, and he believes strongly that the U.S. needs a coherent national policy to help ease the rising costs of fuel.
"We definitely didn’t plan on $1.54 a gallon when we started the tour," Dorso said. "If we don’t start developing domestic energy, we’ll be at the whim of OPEC. I think we have to be cognizant of environmental issues, but we need to encourage a domestic energy proposal."
Dorso continued to outline his views. "The [hours of service] proposal that’s on the table is just ridiculous," he said. "From all sides, it’s bad for drivers, owners and shippers. But I do believe that something needs to be done. The old rules need to be revamped."
He also serves as a member of the Land Transportation Standards Subcommittee, established by NAFTA and made up of government transportation officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada. The LTSS focuses on compliance and driver/vehicle standards, vehicle weights and dimensions, hazardous materials transportation standards, and traffic control devices.
"We’re trying to work our way through a harmonization of size and weight standards," he said. "I’d like to see us go to strictly six-axle and 96,000 GVW.
"I think NAFTA has been good for the U.S.," he added. "It’s definitely increased jobs."
Dorso sticks to his belief that members of Congress need to understand the trucking industry.
"[The trucking industry] doesn't have enough representation in Congress," he said. "We would stand a better chance of having an efficient transportation system."

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