In my last post, my parting line was: “…if you don’t know your congressional representative, this might be a good time to learn their name.”
Now, I happen to know the name of the congressional representative for our region. Our Senate representative is Pat Toomey. I have been rather vocal about this whole tariff situation — among other topics that will remain unmentioned — when it first started on steel and aluminum articles, and now, steel and aluminum derivatives. I express myself to Senator Toomey through his website, but, I gotta tell you, I hate that drop-down menu where you pick a subject because what I want to talk about is never there!
Bear with me while I tell the following story:
I mustered all my umbrage about these latest tariffs and while maintaining my professionalism, selected the topic of “Trade” from the drop-down menu, and unleashed my frustration in the email then hit the “send” button. I got the not-so-surprising “Thank you for reaching out to me, blah, blah, blah…” auto-response email. I waited for the next email, which I expected to be the canned response pertinent to the subject selected. And I waited, and waited. Hmmm. Nothing. Interesting. Oh well, I thought, they are probably wondering, “who is this woman?” and not in a good way.
On February 18 I traveled to Altoona with a colleague, David. He doesn’t listen to the radio so we talked – about everything. Some transparency here: David and I met at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh about a million years ago. He and his wife live two blocks from me. In the summertime, I give them tomatoes out of my garden. I know their kids and grandkids so there was plenty to talk about. Our conversation gravitated from inquiring as to how the newest grandbaby is doing, to the latest tariffs and the whole anti-dumping lawsuit by Kyocera. Just as we were bemoaning the overnight price increases, my phone rings. Huh, the number is from Washington DC.
“Hi, is this Teresa?”
“Yes, it is…”
“This is Meghan; I work in Senator Toomey’s office”
“Say, again? Who?”
“Meghan, from Senator Toomey’s office. I am calling in response to your email about the newest tariffs.”
We had a great conversation. I expressed my concerns to Meghan and she assured me that Senator Toomey, who is an advocate of free trade, was engaged with these issues. I closed out my conversation with a general, “Hey, if you are ever in Western Pennsylvania, you’re welcome to stop by.”
The next day, I get an email: “…I am traveling though SWPA on Friday…and wanted to see if I could take you up on your generous offer to visit. …it truly would be helpful to see your work first hand, especially as we work to convey to Sen. Toomey…how the new tariffs (and the old tariffs) are impacting PA companies.”
On Friday, February 21, Meghan, from Senator Toomey’s office, did stop by to see a distribution company that is directly impacted by tariffs – on both articles and derivatives. She was attentive and interested, not just for companies like ours, but for the hardwood industry as well, which has been decimated by tariffs. I fully expect her to give Senator Toomey what he needs so he can adequately represent our concerns.
Allow me to answer the opening line of this post. “Is anyone listening?” Yes, they are.
I will also repeat from my last post: “…if you don’t know your congressional representative, this might be a good time to learn their name.” If you are as fortunate as we are, it will be Senator Pat Toomey and a very capable legislative correspondent whose name is Meghan.