Golf Course Management

FEB 2016

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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36 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 02.16 (advocacy) Robert Helland rhelland@gcsaa.org Twitter: @GCSAA This will be an intense political year. First, what has been a marathon presidential cam - paign becomes a sprint on Feb. 1, the date of the frst caucus (Iowa), followed by the frst primary on Feb. 9 in New Hampshire. At least one primary or caucus will take place almost every week through the end of June. The compressed nature of the primary and caucus calendar explains why the campaigns are putting a lot of their emphasis on Iowa, New Hampshire and the other early-caucus or early-primary states. Whichever Democrat or Republican wins the majority of those states will have vital momentum needed to secure the remainder. Whoever comes up short will likely end his or her campaign quickly. It's not only the presidency on the ballot this November: The entire House of Represen - tatives and one-third of the Senate is also facing re-election. Right now, Republicans control the House 246 to 188, with one vacancy in a solidly Republican district. To win the advan - tage, Democrats would have to pick up 30 seats this fall. That's six times the number of seats Dem - ocrats would need to acquire in order to gain control of the Senate (Democrats would need to pick up fve Senate seats in 2016, four if the next vice president is a Democrat). This is one reason the Senate is considered to be at a high possibility of changing hands. Another is that more Republican Senate seats are up in 2016: Twenty-four seats compared with 10 Demo - cratic seats. Finally, whoever is at the top of the ticket may have coattails that impact both the Senate and House races. The key is the so-called "purple" states — such as Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — which neither party has had a lock on over the past few elections. Expect the eventual Democrat or Republican nominee who sweeps most of these states to see greater gains by his or her respective party in Congress. Regardless of which party controls Con - gress or the White House come January 2017, there's going to be activity in Congress in 2016. There is an excellent chance for the passage of another federal budget, for example, the rea - son being that Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement last year on $80 billion in extra spending for defense and non-defense programs, to be spent over two years. They also agreed on an extension for the federal govern - ment's borrowing ability until March 2017. That helped clinch the deal on the recently passed fscal year 2016 omnibus, and we expect the same incentive to exist for fscal year 2017. Additionally, national security concerns will have an infuence in both Congress and on the campaign trail. GCSAA's specifc advocacy efforts will of course continue throughout 2016. These in - clude fghting the proposed Clean Water Rule (WOTUS). On Oct. 9, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit put a nation - wide stay of WOTUS in effect. That was only temporary, though, and a decision on the fnal merits of the rule is expected soon. GCSAA fought hard to include language in the fs - cal year 2016 omnibus that would defund WOTUS. It remained under active consider - ation during deliberations but was ultimately rejected, along with other environmental pol - icy riders. The need remains for our association to be heard on this regulation, which, if not changed, could signifcantly impact golf course operations. As lawmakers stand for re-election, now is the time to contact them about this issue that's important to you, their voters. Your government affairs team will be working year-round to make sure your voice is heard. Robert Helland is GCSAA's director of congressional and federal affairs, a new full-time presence in Washington, D.C., for the association. Since 2006, Robert has served as GCSAA's D.C.-based lobbyist. He lives in Alexandria, Va., with his wife and two sons. 2016 in D.C.: A bird's-eye view Illustration © Shutterstock/Iconic Bestiary It's not only the presidency on the ballot this November: The entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate is also facing re-election.

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