The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the daily lives of Americans. In our own industry many essential workers are working around the clock. Some are staying on site for extended periods of time to ramp up production of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, parts for vital medical equipment, and more. Others are doing their part by social distancing and caring for at-risk family members to help diminish the spread of the virus.
As chemistry continues to play a critical role in combating the coronavirus, it is more important than ever that the voices of chemical industry employees are heard. While elected officials are currently unable to visit chemical facilities in person, ACC has been working to connect employees and elected officials online to strengthen our robust partnerships.
On Wednesday, the American Chemistry Council’s Political Mobilization team hosted their first virtual roundtable with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). On the call were site managers and other chemistry employees representing ACC member companies in Iowa: BASF, DuPont, LyondellBasell, Performance Pipe – Chevron Phillips Chemical, and Wacker Chemical Corporation.
ACC’s President & CEO Chris Jahn opened the roundtable with an overview of industry efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Next, ACC’s Collin Brecher and Marcus Branstad introduced the participants on the call and informed the Senator of member company initiatives to combat COVID-19 in the state of Iowa. Following this discussion each participating member company representative talked about their efforts in Iowa. With the chemical manufacturing industry’s designation as essential critical infrastructure for the production of much needed virus fighting products in all fifty states, participants spoke about the importance of keeping their essential employees healthy by implementing social distancing and other safety measures. Finally, the call wrapped up with comments from the Senator and a productive general discussion.
As we adjust to this new normal, ACC’s Political Mobilization team will continue to look for opportunities to foster partnerships between elected officials and our critical industry. ACC looks forward to hosting more virtual roundtables and other remote events in the future to talk about the great work being done by the industry.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI-D)
On May 14th, 2020, ACC put together a roundtable with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI-D), the Michigan Chemistry Council, and employees from BASF, Corteva Agriscience, Dow, DuPont, Hemlock Semiconductor, and Wacker Chemical Corporation. Sen. Stabenow, who is a member of the Congressional Chemistry Caucus, updated the attendees on congressional efforts to organize nationwide strategies to combat #COVID-19. Member employees discussed their companies’ contributions to their local communities and communities around the world to help with coronavirus relief. ACC and the Michigan Chemistry Council apprised the senator on our joint effort to secure 4,000 gallons of disinfecting bleach for the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Rep. Tim Walberg (MI-07)
On May 18th, 2020, ACC’s roundtable with Representative Tim Walberg (MI-07) was attended by employees from ACC, Anderson Development Company, BASF, Michigan Chemistry Council, PPG, and Wacker. Southeast Michigan, where the representative’s district is located, has robust presence of chemistry that services auto, healthcare, and tech industries. Attendees of the roundtable discussed COVID-19 and crucial supply chains that keep the Michigan chemical industry running.
Rep. David McKinley (WV-01)
On May 19th, 2020 ACC invited Representative David McKinley (WV-01) to a virtual roundtable with ACC, Covestro, DuPont, Solvay, and WVMA. Chemistry in the Congressman’s home state of West Virginia is the largest manufacturing industry. During the roundtable, attendees discussed important topics such as employee safety, supply chain resilience, and the reopening of the economy.
State Rep. Debra Heffernan (DE)
On May 27th, we held a virtual roundtable with Delaware State Representative Debra Heffernan and member employees from DuPont, Chemours, Corteva, and FMC Corporation in attendance. We discussed the critical role of chemistry in the fight against COVID-19 as well as best practices for keeping employees safe as Delaware’s economy reopens.
Gov. Kim Reynolds (IA)
On May 28th, Gov. Kim Reynolds (IA) joined us and member employees from LyondellBasell, BASF, and DuPont for a quick call. With chemistry being the second largest manufacturing sector in the Hawkeye state, we talked about how best to keep essential employees safe as well as chemistry’s role in the reopening of the state.
Rep. Dave Joyce (OH-14)
On June 2nd, we talked with Representative Dave Joyce (OH-14) and member employees from LANXESS, Lubrizol, LyondellBasell, and Ohio Chemistry Technology Council. Ohio chemistry has stepped up to help communities in Ohio and around the world fight COVID-19. Several companies have made contributions to food banks as well as donated PPE and other materials to frontline healthcare workers and first responders. With chemistry being marked as an essential business, keeping employees safe has been on top of mind for most companies. On the call, the member companies discussed not only the changes they’ve made in daily operation to increase safety, but how employees are taking the safety measures they learn at work home to keep their families and communities safe. Also discussed were some of the challenges our industry has had as a result of pandemic including forecasting demand as industries that rely on chemistry products reduce production.
Rep. Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
On June 25th, we put together a virtual roundtable with Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-09), Celanese, Ingevity, and the Virginia Manufacturers Association. At the roundtable, the Congressman gave a Congressional update. That was followed by updates from the Virginia Manufacturers Association, Celanese, Ingevity, and ACC’s Federal Affairs department. A wide variety of topics were covered, including the importance of advanced recycling, supply chain resilience, and tariff relief.
State Sen. Ryan McDougle (VA)
On June 17th, we attended the Republican State Leadership Committee’s annual meeting, which was held virtually this year. At the meeting, we discussed advanced recycling solutions in Virginia with Virginia State Senator Ryan McDougle and the Virginia Manufacturers Association.
Oregon State Legislators
If there is one thing this year has shown us, it is that chemistry is essential. Last year, ACC held over 150 in-district events with elected officials from across the country. This year we have had to get creative to find new ways to connect. To meet this challenge, our team partnered with Hexion to put together our first ever virtual plant tour this past June 15th.
Using video chat, the team at Hexion was able to show a group of Oregon state legislators how their product is helping save lives and property from the damaging effects of wildfires. To begin the presentation, the legislators were shown a quick video to explain the devastating effect recent wildfires have had on California. They then explained how their product can help protect electrical infrastructure during a fire, which is crucial in times of emergency. They also showed videos on how their product is made and explained the importance of investing in R&D to develop new products that fill critical needs in our country.