WASHINGTON, D.C. – There have been many changes in the political landscape in Washington in recent weeks, but concern about the skills gap and technical training remains important for members of both major political parties.

Representatives of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America met in Arlington, Virginia, to discuss current issues affecting the woodworking industry, and then went to Capitol Hill to bring understanding of these issues to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Industry members of the Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers and the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association were also part of the meetings and Capitol Hill visits.

Dan Bond, named WMMA executive director on January 1, presided over the event, and a meeting of the WMMA Public Policy Committee.

During the Capitol Hill visits, industry members visited the offices of senators and representatives of their own state, and the offices of key committee members.

Visits included members of Congress from a number of states, including New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, California and Oregon.

Issues presented to members of Congress included reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, tax reform and regulatory issues. The current climate of conflict in Washington was also a concern.

In some cases, WMMA, AWFS and WMIA members were able to speak directly with their senators and representatives. Most of the time, the visits included conversations with congressional staff members. The group is planning a similar fly-in later this year.

For more information on WMMA, see http://www.wmma.org

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