Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front- Win the War

shannonnewton2Shannon Newton
President, ATA

Hi, my name is Shannon, and I am a Type A, competitive strategist. I like to win, a lot. Others might say I’m driven, ambitious or determined. But really, I just want to win.

I’m hardly alone. Many of my peers, in business and politics, share this trait.

Usually this characteristic is beneficial in our professional world, focusing individuals, pushing them to attain desired results.

At times however, we all stumble over our will to win. We lose sight of the war, for the battle right in front of us. We bicker over strategy and tactics. It’s not enough to simply win; we want our approach to deliver the victory.

As I write this column, the Arkansas legislature is in session, grappling with perhaps the most contentious issue of our day, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, and Arkansas’s version of compliance, now named Arkansas Works.

It’s politically unpopular in our newly red state. Conservative groups and their candidates railed against it in recent elections. However, philosophical disagreement with federal law does not change it.

All legislators like to win. The very nature of being elected (winning) and voting on legislation (rules) attracts the competitive strategist.

Just weeks ago, in a special session, an overwhelming majority from both parties, in both chambers, voted to adopt Arkansas Works. Without it, over 200,000 Arkansans would lose their health coverage and the state would face a $100M+ budget deficit resulting in steep cuts to essential services across the board.  

Facing an unprecedented move from 10 state senators vowing to block the appropriations bill funding for Arkansas Works, other lawmakers set aside their personal need to win this particular battle, for their strategy to prevail, in order to win the war.

Their plan – the line item veto – was to amend the bill to exclude funding of Arkansas Works from the legislation, while openly promising the Governor would strike that language before signing the bill. Lose the battle against a few immovable senators; win the war for funding vital needs including highways, education and, yes, healthcare.

If Arkansas Works becomes law, as is fully expected, legislators from both parties are to be commended for putting aside their individual need to ‘win’ the battle. Love-or-hate the strategy, the competitor in me admires those who knew the rules well enough to ultimately achieve the desired outcome. Lose the battle; win the war.

In the trucking industry we face divisive issues of our own. Let’s not forget we’re on the same team. Let us not view factions of our own industry as opponents. We all want a safe, healthy, efficient, thriving trucking industry. In order to get there we will have to set aside our need to win individual battles and instead keep our focus on winning the war.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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