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8 SMT Magazine • February 2014 tion, IPC, to take the lead. They had the indus- try clout to present the issues to the regulators or those in the Congress who would listen. They could tell the story and make the case for or against specific requirements. When ap- proached, IPC's position was that they were a standards organization, and that lobbying and politics wasn't their game. That stance changed as pressure mounted and newer, more open- minded board members began to see the impor- tance of telling our story and having a seat at the table when new requirements on our indus- tries were being proposed. Most in Congress, we found out, had no idea who we were or what we did. They didn't know the role we played in ev- erything electronic. They only knew of the big guys. And in their minds, anything to do with the electronics industry was "big business." As we began to get more involved in the po- litical and regulatory processes, we learned that we had a distinct advantage over our much larg- er, political action committee-holding, big elec- tronics brethren. They all had their PACs and lobbyists, but we had something special that they didn't: a geographically diverse member- ship made up of small, independent businesses. IPC just announced they're forming a politi- cal action committee. Here's their reasoning for creating a PAC: Political action committees (PACs) have become an important tool for any group that wants to be heard when laws and regulations are written. Given the growing number of government regulations that influence the electronics supply chain, having clout in Washington, D.C. is something that can no lon- ger be ignored. As a result, IPC's Board of Directors has decided to join the many trade associations and large companies that have established PACs. I have reservations about IPC's new direc- tion in D.C. There's some history. In the early '90s, I was a huge supporter of prodding the industry to be more active in lo- cal and national government. Rules and regula- tions were constantly being developed without any input from our industries. The onslaught of environmental regulations coming from the EPA, the state regulators, and local municipali- ties left the industry frustrated and seemingly powerless. Something had to be done and the logical approach was for our national associa- by ray rasmussen PUblIShEr, I-CoNNECT007 THe Way I See IT ColUMN IPC Forms a PaC

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