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ATA's Graves Takes Aim at Republican Party as Part of the Challenges Faced by Trucking

October 21, 2013

By Deborah Lockridge

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ORLANDO -- American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said the industry continues to play a central role in the U.S. economy, despite the myriad of challenges facing the industry and called on trucking to embrace looming changes.

Graves walked on stage to the strains of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a Changin’."

"While the song was written almost 50 years ago, in 1964, during some of the most turbulent times in our nation’s history, one verse really sounds current when he sings, 'Come Senators, Congressmen please heed the call—don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall. For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled. There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’. It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls...for the times they are a changin'," Graves said.

Specifically, he pointed to challenges from Washington, the rail industry and economic pressures as being threats to the industry, taking direct aim at current dysfunction within the Republican Party.
 
“Political change is under way, and many of the traditional allegiances the business community has had with the Republican Party are necessarily going to need to be re-evaluated,” said Graves, pointing a finger at Tea Party sympathizers. “While it’s appropriate, and there is certainly merit in advocating for reduced government spending, smaller government, reducing our debt, limiting regulations and controlling the reach and intrusive nature of the federal government—insisting on having things their way, without a hint of willingness to compromise and threatening to ‘burn the house down’ otherwise, is a combination of foolish, ill-advised, reckless and detrimental actions to the future of this country.”  
 

Recent actions by Republicans in Washington, Graves said, will serve to hurt Republicans nationally and boost Democrats.
 
“If I was your political broker, my advice would be that you sell your Republican shares and buy the Democrats,” he said.
 
Graves also talked about the necessity to change, specifically to increase, the fuel tax to address the nation’s infrastructure needs, citing recent comments by former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood – once an opponent of raising the tax – advocating a tax hike.
 
“Our position in support of a fuel tax increase is absolutely the right position to take – and everyone on Capitol Hill knows it – they all know it,” he said. “Ray LaHood always knew it, the President knows it, every member of Congress knows it, we’re just fighting the plague of intellectual amnesia that’s overwhelmed Washington on this and so many other issues.”
 
Graves also cited coming changes that will have a positive impact on trucking: improved fuel efficiency standards, electronic logging, creation of a drug and alcohol testing clearinghouse and increased use of natural gas to power trucks; and changes whose impact is much less certain: new hours-of-service rules, the expansion of CSA and pressures on capacity and the driver shortage.
 
Graves took the opportunity to take a jab at the ubiquitous “Freight Rail Works” campaign, asking that “if it works so well, why does it require a $100 million ad campaign to tell everyone it works?”
 
In the end, he said,  “This industry’s biggest obstacle to success is not the railroads; it’s not the political environment or the policy and regulatory environment in Washington, D.C., or state capitols. It’s not high diesel fuel prices or an anticipated shortage of drivers. The biggest challenge we face will come from the incredible diversity of our industry and the easily fragmented constituency that we are,” Graves said. “There’s an old saying about ‘hanging together or hanging alone.’ The ATA record of success in successfully advancing your agenda and protecting your interest is one I’m very proud of. “

Comments

  1. 1. Mike Wallis [ October 21, 2013 @ 11:08AM ]

    Willy Graves has hit all wrong! If it weren't for the brave Tea Party Republicans, there would be no difference between the scum-bag bottom feeding demoncraps and the republicrats. Go TED CRUZ!!!

  2. 2. Charles Schwarting [ October 22, 2013 @ 03:33AM ]

    What agenda was being advanced in this speach, political personal or both?

  3. 3. JG [ October 22, 2013 @ 03:54AM ]

    Graves is a good little Democrat. He picked up on all the Dems talking points. No mention of Obamacare, no mention of stalling the pipeline, no mention of all the insufferable regulations placed upon the trucking industry. And he wants to increase fuel taxes. Yep, a good little Democrat with not much else to contribute.

  4. 4. bryan spoon [ October 22, 2013 @ 03:57AM ]

    Sure am glad Graves isn't my political broker cause buying Democrat means paying for bigger more intrusive over regulated government. Once again explain to me how E logs make you less fatigued? The ATA is all about big business and in no way cares about drivers and the training they need and deserve. I noticed the was no mention of increase training standards for entry level drivers...wouldnt want to make those so called unskilled labor jobs have higher standards industry wide then they may (gasp) demand a fair wage and (gasp) get an actual hourly wage that would include overtime....all a lot of hot air

  5. 5. Bruce McCrary [ October 22, 2013 @ 04:02AM ]

    Regardless of political affiliation, the person in this position has no business taking sides in anything political. It serves no purpose for the trucking industry as a whole.

    He should resign his position or the ATA needs to replace him immediately.

  6. 6. Kevin [ October 22, 2013 @ 04:19AM ]

    As with tradition Graves is heading the anti trucking association all abot share holders of big steering wheel holder companies making a profit and screw the driver a fine reason if u arent in ooida u better join

  7. 7. Keith Jones [ October 22, 2013 @ 04:37AM ]

    Sounds like we may need some change in D C and the ATA!! Is this what those huge checks I,ve been sending to the ATA are paying for!

    Mr Graves should have been holding Mr Cruz's hankey as he spoke!

  8. 8. Paul Darwin [ October 22, 2013 @ 04:39AM ]

    Graves needs to be helped off of his political soapbox and replaced with someone in touch with the trucking industry. His political hogwash is exactly the reason he is so unhappy with current conditions. Forget party affiliation and let's get a voice or reason into his position to actually start helping our industry, instead of what he calls "stalling" it.

  9. 9. Daniel [ October 22, 2013 @ 05:01AM ]

    ATA+DEMOS= THE DESTRUCTION OF SMALL BUSINESS TRUCKING,

  10. 10. Cliff Downing [ October 22, 2013 @ 05:23AM ]

    I fully understand why Graves feels the way he does. The ATA has wanted a Facist government model for some time. Then they can get government to legislate their version of how trucking should be irregardless of how it affects anyone else. But then it all makes sense.... Graves was a Kansas governor, and so was Kathleen Sebellius (commonly called Syphillus) who is now the great overseer of Obummercare. Anyone starting to see a pattern?

  11. 11. C T [ October 22, 2013 @ 05:34AM ]

    Sounds like the ATA needs to do some replacing and it should start at the top it seems...

  12. 12. Ben [ October 22, 2013 @ 05:37AM ]

    No friend of the trucking industry. Really disappointing. I am not sure of any wins he has garnered for our industry. ATA got beat on hours of service most recently (again), can not stop those in Washington from continued (and past) regulatory pressures and is certainly not promoting things like pipeline or job creation or working with Fortune 100-500 companies to help lobby on behalf of our industry.
    Agreed., times are a changing. The ATA needs to change as well, especially leadership at the top.

  13. 13. kmmtcg [ October 22, 2013 @ 05:40AM ]

    As a former "official" politician, Graves shows that they never leave the corrupt, elite political class. He has either foolishly bought the Dem talking points or is foolishly joining the political mafia of extortion, demonization and corruption, all against the American people.

  14. 14. Carlos Sarria [ October 22, 2013 @ 05:45AM ]

    No, thanks Mr. Graves, last thing I need is you as my political broker. In my opinion ATA should be thinking about trucking and not political aspirations. ATA is just another sell out to special interest. Every comment made here is right on target.

    PS/ Very proud to be a TeaParty Member.

  15. 15. Barnell Marek [ October 22, 2013 @ 05:59AM ]

    I am very disapointed in Mr. Graves and his comments. I will give this much thought about continuing my membership in ATA.

  16. 16. Steve Pieri [ October 22, 2013 @ 06:44AM ]

    I believe Mr Graves must be working for someone else. Not the trucking Industry. More like the Progressive Party. He is the 1 that needs to go Away.

  17. 17. Phil Pierce [ October 22, 2013 @ 06:46AM ]

    Cudos to the Tea Party! We are all starting to see that political affiliation says nothing about what a person truly believes in. Unfortunately the members of the ATA are represented by Graves. At some point the Federal Government will run out of other peoples money to spend and then we all lose.

  18. 18. Dennis [ October 22, 2013 @ 06:47AM ]

    WAY OFF BASE!
    ATA should not be a soapbox
    I'll renew my dues when the leadership changes

  19. 19. Gilbert Garcia [ October 22, 2013 @ 06:54AM ]

    Nice going Mr. Graves, now we see where your heart is really at. Leave the politics for the politicians... Focus on what's best for us, do away with so much regulation that keeps us from doing our job. And as for your comment in regards to the two imature parties, my view on that is this: I always try to pick out the lesser of two evils but regardless of how I try to disect it, I can't see myself going to the left. Hope you won't join the left and finish destroying what's left of this great nation.

  20. 20. MIKE HARNETT [ October 22, 2013 @ 07:04AM ]

    WHO HIRED THIS GUY HE STANDS FOR THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF WHAT TRUCKING NEEDS WE ALREADY PAY PLENTY OF TAX FOR INFRASTRUCTURE , WHOS SIDE IS HE ON?TEA PARTY OPPOSITION IS A GOOD THING, REBUBLICANS AREN 'T PERFECT BUT STILL REFLECT THE TRUCKING INDUSTRYS CORE VALUES LESS GOVERNMENT,LESS REGULATION, LESS TAX IF I EVER THOUGHT ABOUT JOINING THE ATA THATS GONE WHY WOULD I EVER WANT TO SUPPORT A GUY WITH AN AGENDA LIKE THIS ? WHOEVER HIRED HIM NEEDS TO HAVE THE KAHUNAS TO SEND HIM PACKING

  21. 21. MIKE HARNETT [ October 22, 2013 @ 07:04AM ]

    WHO HIRED THIS GUY HE STANDS FOR THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF WHAT TRUCKING NEEDS WE ALREADY PAY PLENTY OF TAX FOR INFRASTRUCTURE , WHOS SIDE IS HE ON?TEA PARTY OPPOSITION IS A GOOD THING, REBUBLICANS AREN 'T PERFECT BUT STILL REFLECT THE TRUCKING INDUSTRYS CORE VALUES LESS GOVERNMENT,LESS REGULATION, LESS TAX IF I EVER THOUGHT ABOUT JOINING THE ATA THATS GONE WHY WOULD I EVER WANT TO SUPPORT A GUY WITH AN AGENDA LIKE THIS ? WHOEVER HIRED HIM NEEDS TO HAVE THE KAHUNAS TO SEND HIM PACKING

  22. 22. MIKE HARNETT [ October 22, 2013 @ 07:05AM ]

    WHO HIRED THIS GUY HE STANDS FOR THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE OF WHAT TRUCKING NEEDS WE ALREADY PAY PLENTY OF TAX FOR INFRASTRUCTURE , WHOS SIDE IS HE ON?TEA PARTY OPPOSITION IS A GOOD THING, REBUBLICANS AREN 'T PERFECT BUT STILL REFLECT THE TRUCKING INDUSTRYS CORE VALUES LESS GOVERNMENT,LESS REGULATION, LESS TAX IF I EVER THOUGHT ABOUT JOINING THE ATA THATS GONE WHY WOULD I EVER WANT TO SUPPORT A GUY WITH AN AGENDA LIKE THIS ? WHOEVER HIRED HIM NEEDS TO HAVE THE KAHUNAS TO SEND HIM PACKING

  23. 23. FRANK A VANDEHEY [ October 22, 2013 @ 07:57AM ]

    BEING ASSOCIATED WITH THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY FOR WELL OVER 50 YEARS, I HAVE NEVER EVER SEEN ANYTHING SO REDICULUS IN MY LIFE.
    EVERT MEMBER OF ATA SHOULD NOTIFY THEM THEY ARE NOT RENEWING THEIR MEMBERSHIP UNTIL THIS CLOWN IS DISMISSED FROM HIS POSITION.

  24. 24. FRANK A VANDEHEY [ October 22, 2013 @ 07:57AM ]

    BEING ASSOCIATED WITH THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY FOR WELL OVER 50 YEARS, I HAVE NEVER EVER SEEN ANYTHING SO REDICULUS IN MY LIFE.
    EVERT MEMBER OF ATA SHOULD NOTIFY THEM THEY ARE NOT RENEWING THEIR MEMBERSHIP UNTIL THIS CLOWN IS DISMISSED FROM HIS POSITION.

  25. 25. Bill Gilquist [ October 22, 2013 @ 07:58AM ]

    Wonderful to know he is merely another communist Obamabot in DC that wants to "fundamentally transform" America. No thanks, you can keep your higher taxes and more regulations!

  26. 26. Jack [ October 22, 2013 @ 08:12AM ]

    Very shocking to learn that ATA has joined the democrats in bad mouthing the Republicans that have backbone.
    Raise the fuel tax so more more of our money can go to rapid rail systems.
    This person should not be in a leadership position in the trucking industry.
    Where did this person come from?
    No more money from us to ATA.

  27. 27. Tommy [ October 22, 2013 @ 08:38AM ]

    Mr. Graves should run as H. Clinton's VP sounds like he's already sleeping with her! Been trucking 40 years ATa hasn't done anything to help the small trucking one bit!

  28. 28. Dan [ October 22, 2013 @ 08:52AM ]

    UNBELIEVABLE. YOU MUST BE KIDDING? TRUCKERS ARE HARD WORKING AMERICANS FIRST OF ALL, REGARDLESS OF OUR POLITICAL POSITION. PLEASE DON'T LET THIS GREAT INDUSTRY BE DIVIDED DOWN THE MIDDLE BASED ON OUR POLITICAL AFFILIATION, LIKE OBAMA HAS DONE WITH OUR COUNTRY. WE NEED A LEADER IN THE ATA THAT WILL STAND FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THIS INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE. IT IS ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE TO HAVE ANYONE IN LEADERSHIP ATTEMPT TO DIVIDE THE INDUSTRY BY MAKING COMMENTS TO PERSUADE ANYONE TO CHANGE POLITICAL AFFILIATION. I PERSONALLY SUPPORT REPUBLICAN AND TEA PARTY, BUT I WON'T SLANDER MY FELLOW DEMOCRATE TRUCKERS. MR. GRAVES JUST MADE A GRAVE MISTAKE IF YOU ASK ME. REGARDLESS OF WHAT PARTY WE ARE WITH, ATA HAS NO BUSINESS WITH SUCH A ONE SIDED POLITICIAN REPRESENTING OUR INDUSTRY.

  29. 29. Scott Henry [ October 22, 2013 @ 09:03AM ]

    The ATA sold us out a long time ago. I wouldn't put any stock in them at all. Graves is exactly what this industry does NOT need. I wonder how much this administration paid him for that speech.

  30. 30. Mick [ October 22, 2013 @ 09:06AM ]

    Bill, where is the Highway Trust Fund? 46 years ago it was the future of our infrastructure!! It was bled off by the people you support to cover social issues and now it is time to call the markers in!! Or is that possible BG?? There are many more small truckers that you for sure are not representing. We have a voice. It appears that the only thing we have in common is Bob Dylan.

  31. 31. Scott Henry [ October 22, 2013 @ 09:07AM ]

    The ATA sold us out a long time ago. It's no wonder with someone like Grave's in there. I wonder how much he was paid by this administration paid him for that bunch of crap.

  32. 32. Ray Puckett [ October 22, 2013 @ 09:10AM ]

    This guy is in the wrong business. Why would anyone place someone like this in a position to speak for the trucking industry.

  33. 33. KURTISS OLSON [ October 22, 2013 @ 10:24AM ]

    Fire Grave's

  34. 34. Michael Kennedy [ October 22, 2013 @ 11:13AM ]

    Well aside from being an obvious Democrat. Going one party or another is not a well thought out plan both parties need to know what ATA is looking to do and how’s the best way to make that happen? Also raising fuel taxes so that our Nation’s highways and freeways can get some much needs repair what a joke how much of this money will go straight into pocket of some senator or congressman

  35. 35. Dennis [ October 22, 2013 @ 11:42AM ]

    We have known for a long time that what the ATA wants is not always what is good for the drivers. What I don't understand more is why the trucking companies elected this guy to represent them. Nothing he said in this article makes me believehe had the best interest of the industry in mind.

  36. 36. Charlie Duncan [ October 22, 2013 @ 11:56AM ]

    Sounds like a stump speech to me. The question is what is he running for. I am guessing the next transportation secretary. Endorsing Ray Lahood! You've gotta be kidding me. Raise taxes! Whoa, we are getting killed with taxes in this industry, What gives you the right to advise anyone as a political broker? Excuse me, I think if you are willing to make those accusations about the Tea party and you know full well Mr. Obama refused to deal with the Repulicans, then you really do have other motives. This has nothing to do with your standing as the President of the ATA but rather using the ATA to futher your career in politics. Thanks for showing us that you really do lack character and integrity. Shame on you. I can't wait till people wake up to Obamacare and I hope it happens before the mid terms. Obamacare is just the begining folks. This hack would like to strip you of more of your hard earned money.

  37. 37. Pete [ October 22, 2013 @ 03:28PM ]

    Help me remember. Whatever has the ATA done to help the industry ? Pandering to the political big wigs. (As long as they are commies)

  38. 38. Danny Sanger [ October 22, 2013 @ 04:19PM ]

    I am very glad to see ALL the comments against what this moron, Mr Graves states. He is part of the DC ruling elite. He badmouths the only people that have our backs, praises the Democrats, then in the next paragraph moans about all the things the DC bureaucracy / Democrats have bestowed on our industry. If DC was a trucking company their operating ratio would be 140. This he wants to defend. Cruz and Lee want us to have balanced budget ( a 100 operating ratio ). Hence the moron reference. Anyone that is an ATA member should demand he resign or cancel their membership.

  39. 39. Scott [ October 22, 2013 @ 06:02PM ]

    Me graves remarks does nothing to help us accomplish our objectives. He needs to work with both parties. Maybe he didn't hear our president state he will not negotiate ... That is not leadership and mr graves comments is not leadership. That what our country is lacking.

  40. 40. Rex Atthur [ October 23, 2013 @ 06:38AM ]

    If I knew a "Political Broker", I'd ask to buy all the Democrats for what they are worth and try to sell them for what they think that they are worth. This guy leans so far left, he might just fall into the Pacific Ocean........I hope.

  41. 41. Darren [ October 23, 2013 @ 08:59AM ]

    Every member of the ATA should stop paying their dues immediately. The ATA is proving to be nothing more than a political cancer to the American trucking industry. Its time to take a stand against the liberals/pro government sympathizers infiltration into our lives, livelihoods, associations, and organizations. Graves and his cronies must go.

  42. 42. John [ October 23, 2013 @ 12:35PM ]

    WOW! 41 comments that say the same thing! Nothing good about Graves. For those who say they must think about sending their membership check? There's nothing to think about, unless you're saying 1 thing, doing another. ALL support for ATA MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY! Better fuel mileage, EOBR's, higher taxes, more rail usage, won't make trucking better! Or safer. If all the fuel taxes went ONLY to highways, there would be plenty of money to fix all the roads. He pushes for the rail industry because they get funded by highway fuel taxes. A walkway over that little creek that a senator wants in his hometown is funded by highway fuel taxes. Make the railroads charge enough to cover their costs to move all that freight, and the "biggies" that currently ship by rail won't be able to afford to use them.
    ATA has never been for the trucking industry. They're for money in their pockets, follow the leader type of odummer & his dumacraps leadership that has this once great country going down the tubes. they demand we rely on them to show us the way. The way to what? Communism? Socialism? Total dependence on the Gov't? Then there will no longer be a need for ATA. Gov't. will set the pay scale,(lower), how many hrs you can work(longer), what your benefits are(none). If that's what you want, keep supporting ATA.

  43. 43. Nick Snover [ October 23, 2013 @ 08:40PM ]

    Great comments. I have nothing to add. It is great to know that other drivers have taken notice that the ATA and even the FTA are giving bad advice and backing bad government for there own gain.

  44. 44. Dave [ October 26, 2013 @ 01:06PM ]

    Look out Hoffa! Graves is positioning to take your job!

 

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