'Truck Driver Summit' upcoming with presidential candidate at Iowa 80 Truckstop

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In what might well be a first in a presidential election, Republican primary candidate Vivek Ramaswamy will join dozens of working CDL holders and authorized trucking businesses at the Iowa 80 Truckstop Dec. 21, at 6:30 p.m., for what organizers are calling the "Truck Driver Summit." 

The event stems from work put in by the CDL Drivers Unlimited group, contacting various presidential candidates in hopes of providing a forum for outreach and education with truckers. Candidate Ramaswamy "was the first to respond" in the affirmative, said Lisa Schmitt, one of CDLDU's leaders.

CDL and/or MC# holders, Schmitt said, should register to attend. Given the state of Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus coming up in January, preferences will be given to Iowa residents as well as CDLDU members, yet "if we have room we'll invite whoever's there" at the truck stop to join the discussion. 

Iowa 80 Group representative Heather DeBaillie confirmed the well-known Iowa 80 Truckstop's movie theater "on the third floor" will be the venue. 

"It seats 80," said Schmitt, so space is limited. "We'll be talking about trucking, and drivers will have a chance to get their questions asked." 

Ramaswamy issued a press release on December 14 noting he would roll out an official trucking policy at the event, adding that “truckers are a crucial link in the American supply chain that power America’s economy. They’re not just haulers of goods -- they're the guardians of freedom on our highways."

Vivek RamaswamyLearn more about candidate Ramaswamy's policy platform via this linked page on the campaign's website.Vivek 2024Ramaswamy invoked the early-2022 "Freedom Convoy" in Canada as an example where truckers "unmasked the perils of government overreach," he said. "Speech was censored, peaceful protesters were arrested, and big banks froze personal funds” of some. â€śThose Canadian truckers taught the world a valuable lesson about the power of civil protest." 

Reps from CDL Drivers Unlimited will also be on-hand, Schmitt said, and Ramaswamy will hear directly drivers’ concerns about trucking-related issues. As noted, he hoped to discuss his policy plan to address specific issues in trucking.        

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The event's been months in the making, Schmitt added. "It will be livestreamed," too, "for those who can't make it," via the candidate's X (Twitter) profile, archived then for on-demand viewing via the the campaign's Youtube channel. CDLDU, in its engagement with the Ramaswamy campaign, has stressed the need for leadership at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with direct experience behind the wheel. "The head of FMCSA needs to [have experience as] a truck driver, we believe," she said. 

CDLDU press materials underlined that notion. "The biggest underlying issue behind the majority of problems" in trucking, the group said, "is that lawmakers and bureaucrats are designing rules and regulations for an industry they know nothing about."

Those interested in attending can visit this link to CDLDU's registration page

[Related: FMCSA Administrator grilled in Congress over speed-limiter mandate pursuit]

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