Answering the Call

Attendees discuss annual LMTA Call on Washington


The annual Call on Washington, a chance for representatives of the Louisiana trucking industry to meet with the state’s Congressional delegation and discuss important industry issues, was held in late September.

This year, 16 people made the trip, said Cathy Gautreaux, the former executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transportation Association. Usually, the Louisiana delegation is between 10 and 15 people, but it has been as high as 25 or so members in the past.

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“It’s incredibly important for our elected officials in Washington to hear from us in person,” she said. “If a motor carrier takes the time to go to Washington, those members of Congress recognize the time and expense it takes for them to get there.”

The group met with all of the members of the state’s Congressional delegation, except for Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, who was recovering after being attacked by a gunman earlier in the summer. Gautreaux said Scalise made his dramatic return to Congress the day after the local Call on Washington was wrapped up.

The highlight of this year’s trip was a nighttime behind-the-scenes tour of the United States Capitol that was arranged by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge. About 10 of the people who made the trip got to go onto the floor of the House of Representatives. “We got to sit in the seats that our representatives sit in,” Gautreaux said.

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“He took us to areas that you normally cannot go through, like the Lincoln Room, and we got to look out on the National Mall at night. It was absolutely fabulous.”

The LMTA had several issues in mind to discuss with Louisiana’s senators and representatives. Those topics included stabilizing the federal highway trust fund through higher fuel taxes, making available more parking off of interstate highways, setting up a pilot program to allow 18-20-year-olds to operate commercial vehicles to address the shortage of truck drivers and giving the trucking industry a say in rules as autonomous vehicles are developed.

State Rep. John E. Guinn, R-Jennings, said he made his first trip to Washington because he was concerned about the new federal rules mandating the use of electronic logging devices to monitor driver hours instead of the current paper logbook system.  

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“I was curious as to the outcome of those computerized log systems,” Guinn said. He’s a former truck driver, who now works as an auctioneer selling trucks, so he has a special interest in the regulations.



The LMTA is remaining neutral on the issue of electronic log systems, although the American Trucking Association is in favor of the measure.

Another first-time attendee was James “Gary” Gobert, president of Lake Charles-based Lake City Trucking.

Gobert said he decided to participate in the Call on Washington for the first time because he’s now the first Vice President of the LMTA. “Being an officer, I felt like it was my duty to go,” he said.

Gobert said the trip was worth it because he got a better insight on both how Congress and the ATA operate.

“I have a better understanding of the ATA and where all the money they’re asking for goes,” he said. “I would suggest anybody in the trucking industry who gets the opportunity to go on this trip should take it.”

The experience was so insightful that Gobert is already planning to attend the 2018 Call on Washington.

Said Gobert, “I was able to see how the other guys dealt with the delegation, so maybe next time I’ll be able to talk directly to them.”




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