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AEM Co-Hosts Presidential Infrastructure Roundtable

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) co-hosted the first-ever presidential candidate forum on infrastructure on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The Moving America Forward: A 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on Infrastructure, which was broadcast live by C-SPAN, featured former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and billionaire Tom Steyer. 

The four Democratic presidential candidates all agreed that “the U.S. faces an urgent need to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges and highways” and offered their plans for how to overhaul the nation’s transportation network and create construction jobs. For a few hours, it was infrastructure week on the presidential campaign trail, and AEM was front and center.

From the audience to social media, equipment manufacturers were well represented during the forum. AEM Board Chair and Reed International/VSS Macropaver President and CEO Jeffrey Reed; George Reed Inc. President Margaret Reed; AEM President Dennis Slater; and AEM Senior Vice President, Construction and Utility Sector Megan Tanel had a front row seat for this historic event. 

This marked the first time presidential candidates participated in a forum focused exclusively on infrastructure, with the national media treating and covering this as they would any other debate.

AEM’s Slater told national media outlets on hand covering the event that “any candidate who wants to make it to November’s ballot must keep infrastructure, and the equipment manufacturing industry’s 1.3 million men and women, at the top of their list.”

AEM partnered with American Road and Transportation Builders Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Public Transportation Association, The Value of Water Campaign, Transport Workers Union of America, The International Union of Operating Engineers, and Airports Council International – North America to raise the profile of infrastructure as a key issue during the 2020 election. 

  • Biden proposed a $1.3 trillion plan to rebuild roads, bridges and highways and promote a high-speed rail system. 
  • Klobuchar, who made infrastructure the subject of the first policy rollout of her campaign, said she would spend $1 trillion on the projects, including $650 billion in direct federal funding for infrastructure. 
  • Buttigieg outlined a program to put $1 trillion into infrastructure in partnership with states and cities, a plan he says would create 6 million jobs. 
  • Steyer, meanwhile, proposed dedicating $2 trillion in public spending to promote “climate-smart” infrastructure.

The forum attracted a host of elected officials, including U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), U.S. Reps. Steven Horsford and Dina Titus, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The Wall Street Journal’s Executive Washington Editor Jerry Seib and political reporter Jeanne Cummings moderated the forum, with more than 100 credentialed press at the event. The Wall Street Journal, Roll Call, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Agri-Pulse, and FOX5 Las Vegas were just some of the outlets who covered Sunday’s forum.

AEM staff, led by AEM Senior Vice President, Government and Industry Relations Kip Eideberg, also had the opportunity to speak to each of the presidential candidates, highlighting issues that are critical to our industry’s growth and presenting them with AEM-branded replicas.